Nurse takes NHS to court over puberty blockers for children

The trust said it was monitored 'very closely'

Monday, January 6, 2020

A psychiatric nurse has launched a legal bid to stop the NHS prescribing “experimental” puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children wishing to undergo gender reassignment.

Susan Evans will take on the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service (GIDS), at the High Court this week.

Ms Evans said that while she was working at the trust she became increasingly concerned that young children were being given “experimental treatment” without adequate assessment.

She also accused gender-diverse support groups of having undue influence on what happens at the clinic.

Her lawyers will argue that the provision of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones at the clinic to under-18s is illegal as children cannot give valid consent to treatment.

Ms Evans said: “I just couldn't see that enough psychological work had been done with the children.

“I used to feel concerned it was being given to 16-year-olds, but now the age limit has been lowered and children as young as perhaps nine or 10 are being asked to give informed consent to a completely experimental treatment for which the long-term consequences are not known.

“The Tavistock will say the effects are fully reversible but the truth is nobody knows that for sure.”

The case is also being brought forward on behalf on “Mrs A”, whose 15-year-old autistic daughter is currently on the waiting list for treatment at the Tavistock.

Mrs A said she had “deep concerns” that her daughter would be subjected treatment with “insufficient safeguards, where her autism will not be properly accounted for”.

A spokesman for the Tavistock said the service had an “international reputation for being cautious and considered”.

He added: “NHS England monitor our service very closely. The service has a high level of reported satisfaction and was rated good by the Care Quality Commission.”

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