Another former clinician at the NHS’s gender identity clinic for children has raised concerns about how quickly it is referring children for hormone treatments.
Sue Evans, who worked at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) between 2003 and 2007, says assessments are carried out much more quickly than in other areas of children’s mental health.
The psychotherapist and mental health nurse – who is in regular contact with several other clinicians who have left GIDS recently – said she was alarmed that treatment plans are being influenced by activist groups such as Mermaids.
Evans said during her time she mostly treated girls who were adamant that they were boys, but after further consultation other factors emerged and many subsequently changed their minds.
Now, because of the upsurge in demand for the services, the clinic is rushing patients into treatments as a solution.
She said: “There is huge pressure on the service to address the waiting list, which then means the time allowed for consultation with the children and their families is reduced to maybe three to six sessions before referring for hormone treatment.”
Evans added that people who come to the clinic are often experiencing a variety of problems, “such as depression, autism, trauma, childhood abuse, internalised homophobia, relationship difficulties, social isolation and so on”.
She is the latest in a string of medics working in the sector to raise concerns.
Worries about the way the clinic is rushing children into treatments without thorough examination are increasingly in the public discourse, with several clinicians speaking out about their concerns in recent months.
Climate of fear
Marcus Evans, Sue’s husband, was a psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s adult service until earlier this year, but quit after it dismissed a report by Dr David Bell criticising its methods.
Dr Bell, a governor at Tavistock, had accused GIDS of not taking extra mental health factors into account.
And in July, Dr Kirsty Entwistle accused GIDS of giving children puberty blockers without fully understanding the long-term impacts of the drugs.
Both she and Evans criticised GIDS for creating a climate of fear which makes clinicians afraid to speak out, or to challenge a child’s assertion that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’.