Tavistock transgender clinic shut down after review finds it ‘unsafe’ for children

The only dedicated transgender clinic for children in the UK is to be shut down by the NHS after a review found it is “not safe”. Over 200 Irish children have been sent there by the HSE at tax-payers’ expense. Senator Sharon Keoghan has raised the matter in the Seanad.

The Tavistock clinic has prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children prior to surgical removal of body parts such as breasts in some cases.

The decision to shutter the clinic is a response to the interim Cass Review, which warned that medics in the Tavistock had felt “under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach” to gender identity rather than going through the normal process of clinic assessment with young people.

Dr Hilary Cass, the consultant paediatrician who is leading the independent review, found earlier this year that the clinic as the only provider of gender identity services for young people in England was “not a safe or viable long-term option”.

NHS England have also committed to follow Dr Cass’s recommendation that they carry out “rapid” research on the use of puberty blockers by young people after it was noted there is currently “insufficient evidence” on their impact.

The Cass review was commissioned by NHS England in 2020 amid concerns that there was “scarce and inconclusive evidence to support clinical decision making” which saw children as young as 10 given puberty blockers.