Staff from Disgraced Tavistock Child Sex Change Clinic Set Up Private Practice

General view of The Tavistock Centre, Belsize Lane, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

Former staff from the disgraced Tavistock gender clinic in London, which is set to be shut down over child safeguarding concerns, have established a private practice to continue offering contested medical interventions to children.

In the wake of NHS England’s decision to shut down the Tavistock Centre and its Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), which has been accused of offering puberty blocking drugs to children after as little as just one consultation, former staff members have opened up a private clinic named Gender Plus.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Gender Plus is currently offering “specialist gender assessment for children, adolescent and young adults” that can be used as an “onward referral to an appropriate endocrine or surgical team”. The private clinic said that such a service will comprise of around six sessions with a child, mostly held over Zoom calls, at a cost of £275 an hour and an additional £275 for a  “surgery referral”.

Gender Plus is also said to be establishing an “associated hormone clinic” run by another former member of Tavistock by the Autumn to provide life altering drugs to children above the age of 16 years old.

The Tavistock Centre, which opened in 1999 and is set to be completely shut down by Spring of next year, “treated” some 19,000 children for allegedly having gender dysphoria, a rare phycological condition in which people feel disconnected from their biological sex. Over a thousand families are reported to be launching legal action against the clinic for misdiagnosing their children.

One such former patient, a woman who had her breasts removed as a teenager old after being referred to the Tavistock centre, says that she feels like a “mutilated experiment gone wrong”.

Speaking in the upcoming documentary The Clinic, Jasmine said that Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) put her on a course of cross-sex hormones after only two 45-minute sessions with clinicians, who went on to also put her on a waiting list for a mastectomy to remove her breasts. She claims that the medical practitioners ignored signs that she was merely a troubled child, having previously committed self-harm as a result of her gender confusion. 

Jasmine, who has since de-transitioned, said according to The Times: “I think it was a mistake I made because I was a child. I also think that part of the onus is on the various professionals that treated me.

“I thought once I got top surgery, all of my problems would be gone, I’d finally be happy, I’d finally be who I was supposed to be. And when I did get it, I was very disappointed because I felt exactly the same, because it’s not helped me, it has not fixed me inside.

“In fact, it just made things a lot worse. I kind of feel a bit ‘mutilated experiment gone wrong’ walking through society sometimes.”

The Association of Clinical Psychologists UK (ACP-UK) said in October that the decision to shut down the Tavistock Centre’s gender operation was “precipitated by a number of systemic failings” such as having an “approach that was predominantly affirmative, rather than exploratory”.

Last month, the NHS also announced that it would no longer routinely prescribe hormone altering drugs to children given the mounting concerns about their usage. However, without intervention from the government to outright ban the use of such drugs on children, it is possible for them to still be used in private practices such as Gender Plus.

A former consultant psychotherapist at the Tavistock clinic, who quit over objections over its methods of treating children, Marcus Evans said: “These are powerful drugs that interfere with normal biological processes, and we need to have much more information about the effect on minor’s developments.

“The concern is that these private clinics may bypass the very serious concerns that have been raised by the Cass review. If they are not using the same checks and balances that are being introduced in the NHS, then this is a worrying development.

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