Leaked emails reveal concerns over Tavistock gender clinic closure

According to leaked emails, NHS hospital executives have voiced concerns regarding cancelled appointments and a lack of information about future patient care.

Photo of Tavistock gender identity clinic building which is experiencing a closure at the end of the month

According to emails shared with BBC News, NHS hospital executives have voiced serious concerns over the Tavistock gender clinic closure, particularly regarding cancelled appointments and a lack of information about future patient care.

The Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service was established in 1989 as the NHS’s sole care provider for trans and gender-questioning youth in the UK. Ten years later, in 2022, a review conducted by Dr Hilary Cass found that the Tavistock clinic was struggling to meet the demand for its services.

Dr Cass’s review advised the NHS to open additional regional hubs across England to provide more accessible gender-affirming healthcare services. Instead, in July 2022, a decision was made to permanently close the clinic.

Despite a year and a half to prepare for the closure, a February 2023 report determined that there were no locations, staff, or services in place to support patients after the closure.

Staff told BBC News that with only days to go before the closure, they have been unable to answer basic questions from patients and their families about the future of their care. The clinic is scheduled to close on Sunday, March 31.


According to leaked emails sent between February 2023 and March 2024, staff do not have “enough details” about any new services available to replace the Tavistock clinic after its closure. At least one message acknowledged that cancelled appointments could pose a risk to some patients.

In the leaked email exchange from November 2023, clinicians expressed concerns to the chief executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Michael Holland, sharing that they had “insufficient information” about where patients could find new services.

They said: “The situation is now having a significant impact on the safety and well-being of the families we are supporting,” and Dr Holland reportedly replied expressing extreme concern about the situation. Further emails indicate that communication with patients has been “far from ideal”.

NHS England claims that patients received letters outlining how their new care will change after the Tavistock closure, but these letters only pointed patients to their GPs, local mental health crisis teams, or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. One family told the BBC News they had been left “completely in the dark”.


Since August 2012, the HSE has referred Irish patients to Tavistock for psychological assessment under the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), and a 2023 HSE report flagged concerns over prolonged waiting lists and lack of access to services in Ireland.

Many former patients stated that the care provided by the Tavistock clinic was “cautious and procedural rather than gender-affirming” and that they were frustrated by how long they had to wait for a puberty blocker prescription.

Some of the families surveyed said their children experienced: “social isolation, bullying at school and mental illness” while waiting for care.

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