20 January 2021
Bayswater Support Group shares the concerns of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), whose inspection report today described the service provided by the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) as “inadequate”. Many of our children are current and former patients at GIDS, or on the waiting list.
Our support group was set up in autumn 2019 by the parents of children with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria, since when 300 parents have contacted us. We advocate for an evidence-based approach to treating adolescents and young adults, and exploring all options before resorting to irreversible medical treatments and surgery.
“We echo the report’s findings that there is inadequate support for children and young people on the waiting list, which is a worry for all parents whose children are expressing distress about their gender. We are also concerned about the lack of curiosity, surveillance or support for young people on the autism spectrum and/or with conditions such as ADHD who are also questioning their gender. These correlations have been known about for many years, and the service’s lack of acknowledgement, information gathering and subsequent support for these adolescents is of grave concern.”
“We are calling for gender non-conforming children to receive unbiased mental health support, including a better range of therapeutic options that explore the other factors such as trauma and bullying that can lead to gender distress. ”
“The CQC has identified longstanding deficits in the care of young people with vulnerabilities. These are questions that regulators must also now ask of adult gender clinics: the right to a careful exploration of gender distress does not end at age 18.”
Mother C: “We have been unable to secure any mental health support from our school, our MP, our council, our GP or CAMHS. In our case, we have found that three of these are receiving advice – sometimes paid – from activist groups rather than medical professionals.”
Mother F: “GIDS has focused its apology on waiting list times, which have certainly added to children’s distress. We would like the service to address the broader systemic issues raised in the CQC report, which described patient assessments as ‘unstructured, inconsistent and poorly recorded’”.
We would be happy to provide anonymous interviews with parents of boys and girls age 11 to 25 with a range of family circumstances and mental health issues.
Note to Editors
Parents are concerned about the extraordinary rise in the numbers of children presenting at GIDS, the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. GIDS has shown a 4200% increase in the numbers of girls presenting at clinics with gender dysphoria in recent years. Parents are also disturbed by the research that shows roughly 85% of children grow out of gender dysphoria if they do not have medical intervention however studies following the recent use of puberty blockers show that 0-5% of children who take puberty blockers desist.