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NHS announces review into gender identity services for young people

Former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr Hilary Cass OBE, will lead an independent review into gender identity services for children and young people, NHS England has announced.

Wide-ranging in scope, the review will look into several aspects of gender identity services, with a focus on how care can be improved for children and young people including key aspects of care such as how and when they are referred to specialist services.

It will also look at clinical decisions around how doctors and healthcare professionals support and care for patients with gender dysphoria.

The review will also set out workforce recommendations for specialist healthcare professionals and examine the recent rise in the number of children seeking treatment.

Dr Cass will then make clear recommendations for children and young people’s gender identity services, reporting back next year.

Currently, the Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents is managed by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

A focused inspection of the Tavistock and Portman NHS FT gender identity services for children and young people is due to be carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The inspection will cover parts of the safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led key questions and will include feedback from people using the services, parents, relatives, carers and staff.

Dr Cass will also separately review the service’s clinical practice with the support of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and engagement with other professional bodies to provide multi-professional insight, working closely with the CQC.

The review includes an examination of the issues surrounding children and young people who are prescribed puberty blocking and cross sex hormone drugs.

Dr Cass said: “It is absolutely right that children and young people, who may be dealing with a complexity of issues around their gender identity, get the best possible support and expertise throughout their care.

“This will be an inclusive process in which everyone will have the opportunity to make their views known. In particular I am looking forward to hearing from young people and their families to understand their experiences.

“This review provides an opportunity to explore the most appropriate treatment and services required.”

Dr Michael Brady, the National Adviser for LGBT Health, added: “Every child matters and children and young people who are exploring their gender or experiencing gender dysphoria, including those who are trans or non-binary, deserve the very best from the NHS.

“This is why this review is so important so that all health professionals can deliver the very best healthcare in a compassionate and understanding way.

“Throughout this process it’s critical we hear from children and young people, those who have accessed these services, their families and expert clinicians so I am pleased that Dr Cass has put this at the heart of her approach.”

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