November 3, 2022
November 3, 2022

Safeguards to be developed for gender identity treatment of children and young people in Scotland

NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) have been ordered by the Scottish Government to report on the service provided at Sandyford clinic for the treatment of gender dysphoria across Scotland.

A spokesman for HIS said: “There are currently no national standards of care for gender identity services in Scotland. The aim of the standards is to improve access and delivery of gender identity healthcare to support the best outcomes and experience for people accessing them.” Details of the guidelines are expected to be published in December 2023.

Concerns surrounding gender identity services

The attention on gender identity services and concern surrounding a lack of standards in Scotland has arisen out of the growing criticisms of the services provided in England. Last month, NHS England announced the closure of the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service, which provides gender services to children and young people.

The closure comes following the publication of interim findings of the independently conducted review, the Cass Report. The Cass Report was commissioned by NHS England and is headed by 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.

Interim report

The interim report found that there was no apparent “standardised approach to assessment or progression through the process” and “from the point of entry to GIDS, there appears to be predominantly an affirmative, non-exploratory approach” which was at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis that [Staff] have been trained to undertake in all other clinical encounters”.

The Sandyford Youth Gender Clinic in Glasgow is the only gender services provider for children and young people in Scotland. Annual referrals to the service have increased exponentially, which has resulted in a waiting list of around 3.5 years for the young people’s service, according to the Sandyford Website.

The service is currently offering appointments to individuals who registered in May 2019. David Bell, a psychiatrist who first raised concerns about Tavistock in 2018, has called for the Sandyford clinic to be closed as the model is similar to the Tavistock regime and susceptible to the same failings identified in the interim Cass Report.

Since the Interim Review was published in England, a number of service attendees at both Tavistock and Sandyford have spoken publicly about their experience and mirrored the concerns detailed in the Interim Report with respect to the gender guidance and treatment they received.

Do you have concerns about your Tavistock or Sandyford treatment?

Some users feel they were misdiagnosed and/or find themselves with irreversible and life changing consequences as a result of hormone blockers and/or masculinizing and feminizing hormones.

If you, or someone you know, has concerns about the treatment they received at Tavistock or Sandyford and would like more information, please get in touch with Pogust Goodhead lawyers via our website.

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