NHS to launch review into gender identity services for children and young people

(Photo: NHS)

The NHS is to launch an independent review of its services for children and young people suffering from gender dysphoria. 

The review will be led by Dr Hilary Cass, former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 

The NHS said the review would be "wide-ranging in scope" and seek to understand why there has been a recent rise in the number of children seeking treatment for gender dysphoria. 

As part of this, the review will consider how and when referrals to specialist services are made, and clinical decisions around how doctors and healthcare professionals support and care for gender dysphoric young people.

The Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents (Gids) is the only specialist NHS clinic for young people with gender dysphoria in the whole of Britain. 

Run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, it has come under increasing scrutiny over the prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to young people. 

Dr Cass will report back on her findings next year, when recommendations will be made to NHS England and NHS Improvement's quality and innovation committee.

"It is absolutely right that children and young people, who may be dealing with a complexity of issues around their gender identity, get the best possible support and expertise throughout their care," said Dr Cass. 

"This will be an inclusive process in which everyone will have the opportunity to make their views known. In particular I am looking forward to hearing from young people and their families to understand their experiences.

"This review provides an opportunity to explore the most appropriate treatment and services required."

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said:"This is a multi-professional issue and we are pleased that a formal review is taking place to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based view on this sensitive and complex subject."

Figures show that that 77 children were referred to Gids in 2009, but by 2018-19, this had soared to 2,590.

A judicial review is being brought against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust by a former Gids psychiatric nurse, Susan Evans, former Gids patient Keira Bell, who underwent gender reassignment treatment in her mid-teens, and Mrs A, whose daughter has gender dysphoria and is on the Gids waiting list. 

The High Court is to hear the case on 7 and 8 October.