A leading psychiatrist who warned about the use of experimental treatments at NHS England’s gender identity clinic for children is now facing disciplinary action.
Dr David Bell, a former staff governor at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust which oversees the clinic, reported clinicians’ concerns over patient welfare to the trust in an internal report in 2018.
The Trust has declined to give a reason for the proceedings, but Dr Bell said that it is related to his “speaking and writing on the subject of gender dysphoria”.
Marcus Evans, who resigned as governor of the Trust last year, said Dr Bell’s situation “tells you everything you need to know about a threatening mindset that does not allow dissent”.
He continued: “Rather than take the concerns seriously they published a notice on the trust website questioning Dr Bell’s credentials to write the report. That’s why I resigned — I realised the trust management were not serious in wanting to open up and examine what was going on in this highly controversial service”.
a threatening mindset that does not allow dissent
His wife Sue, who had also worked at the clinic, said that last week’s High Court ruling to protect children from being given puberty blockers validated concerns she raised while there.
She said: “The real scandal is that the treatment pathway of children with gender dysphoria became ever more politicised, and moved away from high standards of clinical mental healthcare with good assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment.”
Last week, the NHS announced that the Tavistock and Portman Trust has “immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s” in the wake of the High Court’s ruling.
the treatment pathway of children with gender dysphoria became ever more politicised
A spokesman said that in future such referrals “will only be permitted where a court specifically authorises it”.
High Court judges said that it was “highly unlikely” children 13 and under could ever genuinely consent to hormone blockers, and “very doubtful” 14 and 15 year olds could do so.