𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐃𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝟐𝟒𝟎 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧, 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐬 𝟕 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐓𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜 𝐢𝐧 𝐋𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐧.
Tavistock was told to shut down GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service) last year after an independent review led by Dr Hilary Cass concluded that young people were left at “considerable risk” of poor mental health and distress. A Care Quality Commission report had rated the service “inadequate”.
Irish Children as young as 7-years old were referred to Tavistock clinic in London, described on the front page of today’s Irish Times as a scandal ‘on par with East Germany’s doping of Athletes’.
A front page report in the Sunday Times by Glen Keogh says more than 1,000 children, some as young as three years old were referred for puberty blockers to the now discredited Tavistock clinic in London where concerns were ignored to preserve a “gold dust” NHS contract.
This revelation is contained in 𝑇𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘: 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑆𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑝𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑐𝑘’𝑠 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑆𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑛 by BBC Newsnight journalist Hannah Barnes, to be published this month and serialised in The Sunday Times Magazine.
Barnes spoke to dozens of clinicians who worked at l Gids, part of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. She also spoke to children and their parents who used Gids.
The book claims that more than a third of young people referred to the service had moderate to severe autistic traits, compared with fewer than 2 percent in the general population. Some identified not just as a different gender, but a different ethnic background.
One young person had “three different alter egos”.
Children as young as three, already living as the opposite gender with a changed name, appearance and pronouns, were referred to the service.
Former therapists involved in prescribing puberty blockers now admit they don’t know “how many children [have since] changed their mind” on transitioning.
In her first interview since winning an employment tribunal case after she raised safety concerns, the trust’s head of safeguarding, Sonia Appleby, said anyone who spoke out was “demonised”.
Dr Anna Hutchinson, a senior clinical psychologist at Gids, said puberty-blockers were supposed to be prescribed to children to give them “time to think” about whether they wanted to transition fully, but almost all went on to take cross-sex hormones, which have irreversible consequences.
February 2019, a 54-page report compiled by Dr David Bell, then a consultant psychiatrist at the trust and the staff governor, was leaked to The Sunday Times.
Dr Bell said Gids was providing “woefully inadequate” care to its patients and that its own staff had “ethical concerns” about some of the service’s practices, such as giving “highly disturbed and distressed” children access to puberty blockers.
Gids, he concluded, “is not fit for purpose”. Many of Bell’s concerns had been expressed 13 years earlier in a 2006 report on Gids completed by Dr David Taylor — then the trust’s medical director — who described the long-term effects of puberty blockers as “untested and unresearched”.
In the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, Patrick O Donoghue reports The author, Hannah Barnes, a BBC journalist, devoted a chapter to Ireland’s care model that Hannah Barnes interviewed Dr Paul Moran and Professor Donal O’Shea, clinicians at the National Gender Service (NGS), who fear that children have transitioned unsafely and too quickly.
They became alarmed when it was discovered that in many cases CHI Crumlin did not hold the children’s records.
Several of the children referred to the Tavistock clinic had severe autism or problems such as non-attendance at school or mental health issues, or they had experienced homophobia.
Highlighting the “red flags”, O’Shea said life-changing decisions had been rushed. “The social situation was so chaotic that the idea that you would just jump in with hormones and start treating, without social work input, without liaising with the school, the key worker, you know, it was clearly potty,” he said.
O’Shea added: “It is likely we will encounter significant levels of regret and other adverse outcomes in the Crumlin legacy group which will be difficult to defend.”
Dr Moran said that the concerns that he raised were ignored by the Irish health authorities involved.
Colm Keena reported yesterday in the Irish Times that a “constructive and informative discussion” was held in Dublin on Thursday with Dr Hilary Cass and a wide range of stakeholders from the Department of Health, the HSE, and services providers.
The Irish gender identity service for young people is based in the children’s hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. The service is now looking for alternatives given that it can no longer refer children to Tavistock.
Psychiatrist Dr Paul Moran and endocrinologist Prof Donal O’Shea, of the adult gender service in St Columcille’s, Dublin, have long been highly critical of the quality of the work done by Tavistock on patients of the Irish child and adolescent service.
However, Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, the HSE’s national lead for integrated care, said in August of last year that the Tavistock Clinic was safe, and that if it had been deemed unsafe it would have been closed immediately rather than let continue for another year.
Tavistock saw 107 Irish patients in the period from 2012 to January 2023, according to figures from the London clinic. The youngest Irish children seen were three girls aged seven at the time of their first appointment.
A report by Paul Cullen in the Irish Times last August said 238 young people in Ireland had been referred to Tavistock between 2011 and 2021, including 17 in the first five months of 2022.
Cullen also reported that psychiatrist, Dr Paul Moran, who works in the NGS at St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, had earlier criticised the Tavistock clinic in 2020.
In internal emails, he said he felt the service was “not capable of adequate assessment of suitability and readiness for hormone treatments or surgery”.
The HSE told the Irish Times last August 11 children in Ireland are currently on puberty blocker and cross-sex hormones, prescribed by their clinicians in Ireland.
It says it has never received any complaints about the services provided by Tavistock to Irish patients.