The closure of NHS England’s gender identity clinic for children is an overdue end to its “grim practices”, a columnist has said.
Writing in The Times, Janice Turner welcomed last week’s announcement on the closure of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), following consideration of the Cass interim report on clinical practice.
She said it marked a “radical shift”, vindicating many whistleblowers who were “vilified” and “discredited” for reporting safeguarding concerns.
As children’s gender services are to become integrated with regional hospitals, Turner warned that there will need to be strict protocols to avoid the creation of “more dark places, where opinion trumps data, and sunlight cannot reach”.
In an editorial, The Times commented: “The damage done is immeasurable. No one knows how years of ideological dogma, inappropriate treatment and a culpable failure to consider the overall mental welfare of the children treated by the Tavistock Clinic will affect the thousands referred to its Gender Identity Development Service.”
The newspaper added: “Science should never be prisoner to ideology, nor should scientists be intimidated into muting doubts about current practice.”
Dr David Bell, a former staff governor at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust who was disciplined for reporting concerns on patient welfare, said: “Our thoughts now must be with the large number of children and young people who are living with the irreversible consequences of having been put inappropriately on a medical/surgical pathway that they now regret.”
In The Observer, columnist Sonia Sodha criticised the NHS for ignoring the many reasons children may experience gender confusion in its push to embrace “gender ideology’s unevidenced affirmative model”.
She said: “It is a product of corrosive groupthink, charities whose campaigning hinges on bullying their opponents by traducing them as bigots and individuals so keen to prove they are on the ‘right side of history’ they abandon the critical faculties that are core to their profession. It has caused serious harm and a course correction is long overdue.”
Last week, a spokesperson for NHS England said it recognised it had to “work to a new clinical model that can better meet the holistic needs of a vulnerable group of children and young people”.
They added: “A significant number of children are also presenting with neurodiversity and other mental health needs and risky behaviours which requires careful consideration and needs to be better understood”.
Earlier this year, the interim Cass Review report found that medics in the Tavistock had felt “under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach” to gender confused children rather than applying a proper clinic assessment.