The HSE spent €380,541 last year referring children to the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service in the UK, figures released under freedom of information legislation show.
Irish children experiencing gender identity issues are frequently referred to Tavistock’s clinics in London and Leeds for psychological support under the HSE’s treatment abroad scheme. Last year 40 children from Ireland were referred to the specialised service in the UK. Twice as many girls as boys have been referred from Ireland over the past four years. Nine of those referred since the start of 2018 were girls aged between 12 and 14, the figures show.
The service was criticised earlier this year by Marcus Evans, a former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, who resigned over concerns that it was too quick to give young people gender reassignment treatment.
Evans’s resignation came shortly after a critical internal report by David Bell, the trust’s then governor, who suggested Tavistock’s services were “not fit for purpose” and that “children’s ends are being met in a woeful, inadequate manner and some will live on with the damaging consequences”.
Children as young as 11 in Tavistock have been treated with hormone blockers to stop puberty.