TENI responds to UK's Gender Identity clinic closure

The UK's Tavistock clinic is due to close following a damning report of inadequacies.

The photograph shows the sign for the Tavistock Centre, the clinic that provides Gender Identity Development Services.
Image: @Mark1957 via Twitter

The NHS in England has confirmed that it is to close the Tavistock and Portman clinic, the UK’s only dedicated gender identity clinic for children and young people, in favour of two new regional centres.

The decision came following the findings of an independent review into gender identity services for children and young people by Dr Hilary Cass.

In the review, Dr Cass found that the current model of a sole provider of Gender Identity Development Services, delivered at the Tavistock and Portman clinic, was inadequate. The report noted that in the past 10 years the number of patient referrals had increased from 250 in 2011/12 to over 5,000 by 2021/2022.

It also identified a number of additional factors such as “a dramatic change in the case-mix of referrals from predominantly birth-registered males to predominantly birth-registered females presenting with gender incongruence,” and an increase in the number of patients presenting with neurodiversity and/or mental health needs.

The NHS has confirmed that from Spring 2023, two new regional centres will be established to deal with the increased demand, one in London, and another in the North West of the country. It is expected that with the success of this new model of care, additional centres will be developed throughout the country. 

With the lack of adequate services in Ireland, it is hoped that the restructuring of the UK’s Gender Identity Development Services may also have positive ramifications for Irish patients.

Responding to the news, TENI (Trans Equality Network Ireland) issued a statement to GCN saying: “We are cautiously optimistic that expanding the service and creating regional hubs will shorten waiting lists and create community care which will enhance holistic wrap around local services around the UK.

“TENI would be delighted to see something similar happen in Ireland. Young people and their families have been waiting a long time for an Irish child and adolescent service to be created. The post of a consultant psychiatrist to start this service has still not been filled even though the advertisement for the post went out over a year ago,” the statement continued.

“How long do our families need to wait? It is clear that our families should not and now, cannot, any longer travel to the UK for these services,” the organisation concluded.

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