GIDS referrals increase slows in 2016/17

27 April 2017

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has seen an increase in the number of young people referred to our Gender Identity Development Service in 2016/17, compared to the previous year. However, the rate of referral increase for this year is the lowest since 2009.

In 2016/17 there were 2,016 referrals received at the clinic. This represents a 42 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Last year, 2015/16, had a 104 per cent increase – from 697 to 1419 referrals – when compared to its previous year.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is a highly specialised clinic for young people presenting with difficulties with their gender identity. Some people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. These feelings may or may not change or develop over time. We help our clients to explore their feelings and their priorities and choose the path that best fits with their needs and their lives.

In 2016/17, 1400 of the referrals were for young people assigned female at birth (AFAB), and 616 for those assigned male at birth. Last year those numbers were 929 and 490. This continues the trend of an increase in AFAB referrals proportionately.

Dr Polly Carmichael, Gender Identity Development Service Director and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, said:

“There is no single explanation for the increase in referral figures, but we do know in recent years that there has been significant progress towards the acceptance and recognition of transgender and gender diverse people in our society. There is also greater knowledge about specialist gender clinics and the pathways into them, and an increased awareness of the possibilities around physical treatments for younger adolescents.

“The majority of our users do not take up physical treatment through our service, and any decisions around hormone treatment needs time and considered thought. The long term health and psycho-social wellbeing of young people is always our priority. In all our work we aim to be extremely careful to properly support people and allow them to explore their full range of options.”

A further breakdown of the figures is on the GIDS website

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Gender identity development service (GIDS)

For children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity.