Gender Identity Development Service – response to recent statements in the media

14 July 2019

Recent statements appearing in the media do not represent the ethos or practice of our Gender Identity Development Service, which takes a thoughtful and safe approach, caring for young people at a vulnerable time in their lives. Our experience with this group indicates that the choice to do nothing may do significant harm, but the service is thorough and systematic in its approach to exploring with the young people and families the best way of dealing with their distress and the consequences of different choices.

This is a contested field of work. The service has always taken a balanced approach and does not affiliate with lobby groups. In this context, the service attempts to occupy a thoughtful position based on the best available evidence while facing criticism from both ends of the spectrum of opinion in a highly scrutinised area of practice.

In responding to some concerns raised about the service, the Trust completed a Board level review earlier this year, which resulted in recommendations to address issues, including clarifying processes within the service and addressing any unwarranted variations in practice. However, we strongly refute the blanket and generalised criticisms of the service. These points are at variance with the experience of service users within the service, which have been overwhelmingly positive. Where any clinician has specific concerns, the Trust has well established procedures for reporting them.

The Care Quality Commission, our care standards regulator, and our national commissioners, monitor our service very closely. The GIDS is one of the longest established services of its type in the world with an international reputation. We are commissioned by NHS England and work according to their specifications.

The service is committed to increasing the evidence base that informs the best way to support young people experiencing distress around their gender identity. You can read about our Early Intervention Study on the GIDS website.

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