Children considering radical transsexual changes may be failing to understand the lifelong impact, staff at the NHS’ flagship gender centre fear.
The warning came in a review from Dr Dinesh Sinha, Medical Director at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust which oversees the gender clinic.
Dr Sinha said while most staff at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) feel they give “a significant degree of thought” to children, caseloads were “excessive”.
He also reported that several staff were not convinced children fully understood “issues such as fertility and its impact on their adult lives”.
But senior staff at GIDS felt “unable to act, due to the intense scrutiny”, he said.
Dr Sinha’s review was responding to a staff report which warned that some children “take up a trans identity as a solution” to “multiple problems”.
Such problems include “historic child abuse in the family” and “a very significant incidence of autism spectrum disorder”. It said some children are allegedly being ‘coached’ online to the extent that they have “virtually no freedom to express their own view”.
However, Tavistock and Portman Trust strongly challenged the complaints from the original staff report.
The Trust said it had “thoroughly investigated” the concerns and not upheld any relating to “safety and safeguarding”.
It noted that clinicians “grapple daily with high levels of complexity, sparse evidence and great variety in the young people coming forward”.
The review came as a Welsh women’s group spoke up for school girls anxious at having to use unisex toilets installed to be ‘more inclusive’ for transgender people.
Women’s Voices Wales was told by parents that girls were avoiding going to the toilet until they got home. Others faced bullying.
Spokeswoman Helen Raynor said: “No pupil should feel they are unable to use the toilet during the day.
“No child should avoid school because they are anxious about using the toilet, or stop drinking water”.