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From a longer report published online by Medscape UK, Martin Welz extracts pertinent information on a move by at least a thousand families who allege that their children were rushed into taking life-changing puberty blocking drugs by the UK’s only children’s gender identity development service, run by the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust. Welz believes this is perhaps a cautionary tale for the growing number of broad-minded South African parents and teachers, who possibly without due caution, might have rushed to support transgender treatment for pre-pubescent children who appear to identify with their opposite sex. An interesting development, given some of the “progressive” curricula being presented at primary level by some South African schools at the moment. – Sandra Laurence
Families to sue UK gender service
By Martin Welz
The UK’s only children’s gender identity development service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust, is to be sued by at least a thousand families who allege that their children were rushed into taking life-changing puberty blocking drugs. As a result, they are facing “permanent physical and psychological scarring that will last the rest of these victims’ lifetimes,” alleged the law firm involved.
The action follows last month’s announcement by the NHS that the clinic would be closed over safety concerns. That in turn followed a highly critical independent review by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, which concluded in its interim report that a single specialist provider was “not a safe or viable long-term option” and noted concerns about the lack of peer review.
The care of ‘gender questioning youngsters’ – whose numbers have risen exponentially since 2011 – is instead to be allocated to a network of regional hospitals.
Lawyers plan group claim for criminal negligence
The group medical negligence claim alleges vulnerable children were misdiagnosed, recklessly prescribed puberty blockers with harmful side-effects, placing them on a damaging medical pathway, and that GIDS had failed in multiple ways in its duty of care to the children.
“While the provision of gender dysphoria treatment for children and young adolescents, where appropriate, is an important service, many have been let down by Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust,” a lawyer representing the claimants said. “We support the findings of the Cass review interim report and believe there has been a real level of harm perpetrated towards patients who were rushed into taking life-altering puberty blockers without adequate consideration or proper diagnosis”.
The Cass review noted that some staff at GIDS had felt under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach to children presenting with gender dysphoria, and that this was “at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis in all other clinical encounters”.
The attorney added: “A number of service attendees have spoken publicly about their concerns that they were misdiagnosed. Those who took masculinising or feminising hormones are now left to live with the irreversible and life-changing consequences.”
The group claim over the efficacy of the treatment could run into millions of pounds. A spokesperson for the law firm told Medscape UK that the claim was likely to be filed in the next few months.
– Extracted by Martin Welz from a longer report published online by Medscape UK.
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