Children and Young People’s Gender Dysphoria Research Oversight Board

This national oversight board has been established to ensure research is embedded at the heart of new children and young people’s gender dysphoria services as they are shaped and developed. It will also look to drive further evidence generation in areas where there are material gaps impacting on either treatment decision-making, or the formation of national clinical policy. The Board will oversee the development and adoption of evidence-based best practice, and linked quality improvement initiatives in front-line clinical services so there are equitable opportunities for individuals accessing services to receive high quality care and achieve the best outcomes.

A study into the potential benefits and harms of puberty suppressing hormones as a treatment option for children and young people with gender incongruence is being developed through the National Research Collaboration Programme (NCRP) in place between NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NRCP joint programme provides a collaborative approach to study development; studies being progressed through this route still have to demonstrate that they can materially build the evidence base for potential future NHS treatment options, while meeting a high scientific bar in terms of research methodology, as well as securing other important research approvals, including ethics committee approval.

It is envisaged that children and young people in both England and Wales will be able to participate in the study with access through NHS children and young people’s gender services. A multi-disciplinary team approach will be taken to identify those children who, with the consent of their parents, may be deemed clinically suitable for consideration of puberty suppressing hormones through the study. Children participating in the study will also continue to receive comprehensive psychosocial support.

The study will measure a range of potential treatment benefits and harms (for example whether puberty suppressing hormones impact in a meaningful way on levels of anxiety or depression, on body image, or brain development) using a range of validated tools, questionnaires and user feedback.  Key measures included in the study, and the way data are collected, will aim to bridge gaps in existing research and will also be shaped by engagement with a range of stakeholders, including children and young people referred into NHS gender services and their families or carers.

Professor Emily Simonoff has been confirmed as Chief Investigator for the study. Emily is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, where she is also currently Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of the King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People. She has extensive research experience and is also academic lead for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Clinical Academic Group at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The research will be co-sponsored by King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Membership of the Research Oversight Board

  • Chair – Professor Sir Simon Wessely (Non-Executive Director, NHS England)
  • Beth Scott; National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)
  • Professor Patrick Chinnery; Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Dr Hilary Cass; Chair of the Cass Review
  • Professor Steve Turner; President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
  • Professor Peter Fonagy; National Clinical Advisor, Children’s Mental Health, NHS England
  • Professor Indi Banerjee and Dr Rachel Elvins; Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
  • Dr Lindsay Neil; Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Helen Griffiths, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Troy Tranah; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Bidisha Lahoti; Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • (To be confirmed); Clinical leadership representation from Learning Disabilities and Autism, NHS England
  • Professor John Chester; Director of Research and Innovation, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Thomas Voit, Director of the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) Biomedical Research Centre and Professor of Paediatrics at GOSH
  • Professor Stuart Logan; Director of South West Peninsula Applied Research Collaboration (PenARC)
  • Professor James Palmer; National Medical Director (Specialised Services), NHS England
  •  Jeremy Glyde; Deputy Director CYP Gender Dysphoria Programme, NHS England
  • Ann Jarvis; Programme Director (Clinical Strategy), NHS England
  • (To be confirmed) Data sub-group chair information officer
  • Research sub-group chair: Professor James Palmer
  • (To be confirmed) Quality improvement sub-group chair
  • (To be confirmed) Representation from individuals with lived experience
  • Representation from parents of people with lived experience (1)