NHS England has announced that its gender identity services for children and young people are set for an independent review.
Dr Hilary Cass OBE, former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, is to lead the review, and will consult with a number of organisations as she determines how services for gender-confused young people should change.
She has been tasked with investigating current practices and examining the recent rise in the number of children seeking help.
The NHS statement said the review “will be wide-ranging in scope looking into several aspects of gender identity services, with a focus on how care can be improved for children and young people including key aspects of care such as how and when they are referred to specialist services”.
It said Dr Cass would also review “clinical decisions around how doctors and healthcare professionals support and care for patients with gender dysphoria”.
Cass said: “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”.
She added that “everyone will have the opportunity to make their views known” and that the review “provides an opportunity to explore the most appropriate treatment and services required”.
Care Quality Commission
NHS England also announced that a separate inspection is due to be carried out by the Care Quality Commission of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s gender identity services for children and young people.
Earlier this year, a legal case was launched against the Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). A woman who was treated there says doctors there should have challenged her false belief that she was a man.
She and others, including psychotherapist Susan Evans, are arguing that children cannot give informed consent to receiving life-altering puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones.
Evans, a former GIDS worker, said there was “tremendous pressure” on GIDS staff to intervene and that certain “‘support’ groups and charities” seemed to be having undue influence, pointing out that some senior staff “have also been on ‘teams’ at certain charities such as Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence”.