Following concerns raised by young people, parents, and professionals working at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust about the services provided, NHS England commissioned an independent review to assess how children and young people with gender dysphoria were being supported by the service.
Dr Hilary Cass, a former President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health and former Chair of the British Academy of Childhood Disability, was appointed to head the review.
The interim findings from the review found that the “single specialist provider model is not a safe or viable long-term option in view of concerns about lack of peer review and the ability to respond to the increasing demand” and “the clinical approach and overall service design has not been subject to some of the normal quality controls that are typically applied when new or innovative treatments are introduced.”
Staff at GIDS reported they felt a “pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach”, which was “at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis that they have been trained to undertake in all other clinical encounters”.
This was mirrored as the Cass Review found that “from the point of entry to GIDS there appears to be predominantly an affirmative, non-exploratory approach, often driven by child and parent expectations.”
The Cass Review found that there was no apparent “standardised approach to assessment or progression through the process”. The review also identified an issue of diagnostic overshadowing. Once adolescents were “identified as having gender-related distress, other important healthcare issues that would normally be managed by local services could sometimes be overlooked”.
On 28 July 2022, NHS England announced that the GIDS at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust will close following recommendations from the Cass review’s interim report.
Pogust Goodhead are pursuing legal action against the Trust over the claims of medical negligence outlined in the Cass Review.