Trust defence of GIDS
19 June 2020
GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service) is a safe and caring service which supports a wide range of children and young people grappling with distress about their gender identity. GIDS also provides support to their families. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust stands by its 2019 review of the service. We are confident that it fairly addressed the issues raised and strongly refute the allegations made in a BBC Newsnight broadcast on 18 June 2020.
The broadcast referred to allegations made by former employees of the Trust around perceived safeguarding issues and concerns those clinicians raised about the clinical appropriateness of certain aspects of the GIDS service. These allegations were first raised nearly two years ago in an internal review by the Trust of the GIDS service. All the issues raised were properly examined at the time and no substantive basis for the concerns was found. However, the issues raised by clinicians were carefully considered by the review and its recommendations fully covered the issues raised. There was, accordingly, nothing new in the Newsnight broadcast – it repeated historic concerns and did not fully reflect the Trust’s further actions taken since they were raised.
Safeguarding is of the utmost importance to the Trust and this commitment is reflected in the practice of all our staff. In August 2018 a safeguarding lead was created specifically for GIDS to reflect the growth in the service. This role fits within the well-understood safeguarding pathway and procedures across the Trust and has since been replicated in other services across the Trust. Safeguarding is further supported at Trust level by the Children’s Safeguarding Lead, Named Doctor, and Adult Safeguarding Lead, who all report to the Medical Director, the Board Executive Lead for Safeguarding. All named professionals are clear about their roles and have sufficient time and support to undertake them. Clinical scenarios including safeguarding issues that were raised during the GIDS review were explored with all of the interviewees and issues identified were further investigated and, where appropriate, addressed in the review’s recommendations.
Given the breadth of young people we see, there are many pathways for patients using the service. Only a minority are referred on to our endocrinology services for consideration for hormone blocking drugs and, of those who are, there is no automatic progression to cross-sex hormones. Patients who start on blockers may come off the treatment, some permanently, some temporarily, for a variety of reasons.
The Trust is committed to maximum transparency on this issue. At every stage we have kept our commissioners, NHS England, and our regulators, the CQC, fully informed, as well as the public through our Board updates. We are proud of the quality of care we deliver and the work we have carried out in recent years to make our processes more robust without losing our focus on individuals and their specific needs.