No more gender constraints on lab testing


10 July 2019


Two men, one in a lab coat, look at medical testing equipment

Medlab Central principal scientist Darrell Monk (L) and DHB Funding and Contracts Manager Steve Carey with an analyser which can do approximately 50 different tests on one sample.

Whanganui District Health Board’s laboratory testing is no longer sex-specific, removing barriers to access for the transgender community.


Medlab Central, which provides testing for the DHB, has changed software which dictated tests for specific genders.


These tests include cervical smears, prostate markers and pregnancy tests.


The previous software put a block on transgender patients who needed tests that did not align with their gender identifier.


“There are now no gender constraints on ordering tests,” said Medlab Central chief executive Dr Cynric Temple-Camp.


Clinicians could now select the appropriate gender group on the basis of their knowledge of each patient’s personal circumstances, he said.


The initiative comes from Whanganui DHB’s new Funding and Contracts Manager Steve Carey.


“Now the gender diverse community has access to the testing they need, when they need it, regardless of how they identify,” said Carey.


“Not only does this enable better healthcare for those individuals, but it empowers them to be a participant in their own healthcare journey.”


The move has been welcomed by Pride Whanganui’s Christina Emery, a proactive advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.


"When I read about the changes I was surprised this was even an issue … that we were being dictated to by a computer programme rather than using common sense.


“But I am more than elated to know someone has flagged this and, more importantly, that an outcome has been reached.


“Any barrier for the transgender community is a barrier too many, so this is a step in the right direction. No one should feel they have to fight for basic healthcare based on who they are.


“Life can be hard enough for our transgender community, and this move has opened the door to more possibilities within our healthcare system. Thanks to whoever made it their mission to sort this out."