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The NHS has today announced that Dr Hilary Cass OBE, former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, will lead an independent review into gender identity services for children and young people.
The review will be wide-ranging in scope looking 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, and clinical decisions around how doctors and healthcare professionals support and care for patients with gender dysphoria.
It 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.
The Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents is managed by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is due to carry out a focused inspection of The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Gender Identity Services for children and young people, during the autumn. The inspection will cover parts of the safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led key questions and will include feedback from people using the service, parents, relatives, carers, and staff. Separately, Dr Cass will also review the service’s clinical practice with the support of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and engagement of 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 Hilary Cass OBE, independent chair, 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.”
A transparent and inclusive process for stakeholder engagement and consultation will be established to ensure that everyone who wants to can make their views known.
Dr. Michael Brady, the National Adviser for LGBT Health said: “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.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said: “This is a multi-professional issue and we are pleased that a formal review is taking place to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based view on this sensitive and complex subject.”
The independent review will present recommendations to NHS England and Improvement’s Quality and Innovation Committee.