The trust which governs England’s NHS gender identity clinic for children has been ordered to pay £20,000 in damages to a staff member who was unfairly treated after she raised concerns about patient welfare.
Lead safeguarding officer Sonia Appleby had raised concerns reported to her by several staff at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).
The employment tribunal found that as a result she had suffered “obvious unfairness” and “quasi-disciplinary treatment”, which damaged her professional reputation.
Appleby had highlighted staff concerns that “some young children are being actively encouraged to be transgender without effective scrutiny of their circumstances”.
She said that record-keeping was inadequate and suggested that a policy should be introduced to ensure that any history of abuse or other safeguarding concerns would be considered before a child’s treatment.
some young children are being actively encouraged to be transgender without effective scrutiny of their circumstances
But after she accused senior management of turning a blind eye, the employment tribunal ruled that Appleby was “seen as hostile”, which “damaged her professional reputation, and her ability to do her job, even if she did not find out until later”.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust stated that it was disappointed with the ruling.
Earlier this year, a top psychiatrist who exposed inadequacies at GIDS spoke of the resistance he faced from senior staff when he questioned poor clinical practice.
Dr David Bell, a former staff governor at the Tavistock and Portman Trust, was subjected to disciplinary proceedings after he reported clinicians’ concerns over patient welfare in an internal report in 2018.
In an interview with The Observer, he said that hospital management had been obstructive and hostile and had sought to silence him.