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[News] [UK] Transsexual's fight for implants lands the taxpayer with a bill for £18,000

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  • Stephanie Stevens
    Daily Mail, UK Transsexual s fight for implants lands the taxpayer with a bill for £18,000 By Andrew Levy Last updated at 9:50 AM on 1st January 2011 [Photo:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2011
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      Daily Mail, UK

      Transsexual's fight for implants lands the taxpayer with a bill for £18,000

      By Andrew Levy

      Last updated at 9:50 AM on 1st January 2011

      [Photo: <http://bit.ly/fWDzwm> Miranda Lee, formerly Raymond Harwood,
      said she was left feeling suicidal after she was refused breast
      implants on the NHS]

      A transsexual has won the right to have £8,000 breast implants –
      following a battle funded by £10,000 of legal aid.

      Miranda Lee, 40, had gender realignment surgery costing £60,000 in
      2009, paid for with NHS money.

      The process was due to be completed with the breast augmentation, but
      she was then told the money would not be made available.

      Miss Lee, who complained that she had been left ‘half man, half
      woman’, attempted suicide and has been on anti-depressants.

      She decided to fight the decision and was granted legal aid in June.

      Her case was heard by an NHS review panel last month, and it has now
      ruled in her favour.

      The charity shop worker, from Southend, Essex, said she was delighted
      at the U-turn but wanted compensation for the stress of her ‘inhumane
      and insensitive’ treatment.

      ‘The way my case was handled was appalling,’ she said. ‘These people
      haven’t a care in the world about people. It’s all about money to

      Miss Lee, born Raymond Harwood, first felt she was the wrong sex when
      she was 16 but went on to marry three times and have two children.

      Her last marriage ended in 2000 and in 2005 she went to her GP about
      gender realignment.

      She began living as a woman in 2007 and had a series of operations at
      Charing Cross Hospital in London from July 2009, including having her
      male genitalia removed and her voice altered.

      She was already receiving hormone therapy in the form of oestrogen to
      help her develop breasts but this was not working, meaning she needed

      The East of England Specialised Commissioning Group, which had paid
      for the sex change out of a £700million annual fund raised from
      contributions from the 13 primary care trusts in the region, refused
      to approve the procedure.

      Although it pays for a range of care, it said breast augmentation as
      part of a sex change was not part of its remit.

      Miss Lee’s case was referred back to her PCT, NHS South East Essex,
      which also declined to pay.

      Miss Lee said: ‘I received the letter last April and lost my temper,
      ripped it up, and took an overdose. I was found by a neighbour who
      took me to hospital.’

      [Photo: <http://bit.ly/eSymLo> Miss Lee holds the anti depressants she
      took after refused breast augmentation. She had already had £60,000
      gender realignment surgery]

      After she recovered, she decided on legal action, saying at the time:
      ‘They don’t understand how it feels to be left half man, half woman.
      They should do top and bottom, not just half.

      ‘They were aware of the high number of suicides among people who
      haven’t had their gender operations completed but they still turned me

      She was granted £4,000 in legal aid, which grew to £10,000 after
      further applications from her solicitor, and said she would take her
      case to the High Court if necessary.

      But before going to court the PCT convened a special case review panel
      on December 10. Ten days later it approved paying for the breast

      Miss Lee, who now has an appointment to see a consultant this month,
      said: ‘Now I can get on with the rest of my life and stop spending the
      day thinking about killing myself.’

      Dr Danny Showell, of NHS South East Essex, said: ‘The panel was
      satisfied that Miranda’s case was exceptional.’

      [Photo: <http://bit.ly/eneUGH> Miss Lee began living as a woman in
      2007 and had her male genitalia removed in 2009]

      © Associated Newspapers Ltd

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