Mental Health

25.02.19

England’s only NHS gender clinic ‘too quick’ to give gender reassignment treatment, says ex-governor

A former governor of England’s only NHS gender clinic has aired his concerns with the trust, claiming that clinicians are searching for “quick solutions” when working with children and young people in the clinic.

Dr Marcus Evans, a psychoanalyst who resigned from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust last week, told the BBC’s Today programme that he was concerned with the gender clinic acting too quickly to give children and young people gender reassignment treatment.

Dr Evans told the Today programme: "There is a lot at stake here as these decisions have far reaching consequences.

"Adolescence and childhood is a time when people are developing socially and biologically – a time when young people are identifying with different groups, and with male and female aspects of themselves.

"There is pressure from the child who is in a distressed state, there is pressure from the family and the peer group and from the pro-trans lobbies – and all of this puts pressure on the clinician who may want to help the individual to resolve their distressed state by going along with a quick solution.

Over the past five years, the number of children referred to the Tavistock Centre has risen from 468 to 2,519 a year – a surge of five times the original number over that time period.

Director of the Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS) at Tavistock told the BBC that the centre has been “under pressure for years” from people who argue the centre should increase the pace of gender reassignment treatment.

"The service has really long assessments over periods of time, with the specific aim of allowing young people to think about what is right for them,” she noted.

NHE has contacted the Tavistock Centre for comment.

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