The Courier-Mail

Taxpayers slugged for Defence sex surgery

- IAN MCPHEDRAN

TAXPAYERS were hit with a $648,000 bill for sex change and breast enhancemen­t procedures for serving members of the Australian Defence Force over 30 months.

This included 13 cases of gender dysphoria (gender identity disorder), 10 from male to female, and 15 breast enhancemen­ts between November 2012 and April 2015. It did not include pharmaceut­icals issued by Defence.

The air force led the way, with six members undergoing gender identity treatment and eight having breast enhancemen­ts. The army had five gender cases and four breast procedures, leaving the Royal Australian Navy with two and three respective­ly.

ADF members receive free medical services as part of their service contract. Health care for military personnel costs taxpayers $300 million a year.

Defence said not all 13 of the gender dysphoria cases had undergone surgery.

“Management of gender dysphoria can be complex and gender reassignme­nt surgery is not performed in all cases,” it said. “Defence pays for some but not all aspects of the management of gender dysphoria, including surgery. Equity with Medicare is the guiding principle for considerin­g healthcare entitlemen­ts at public expense for Defence members. These general principles also apply in the management of gender dysphoria.”

The total bill for the gender patients, including surgery, was $395,000, or about $30,000 each. Defence was unable to say how many of the breast enhancemen­t procedures involved cancer patients and the bill for the 15 cases was $253,000, or $17,000 each.

In 2012, the total cost of all ADF plastic surgery procedures was $3.5 million for 1500 cases, or $2300 each. This included breast enhancemen­t and reduction cases.

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