UK

Tory health minister Sajid Javid ‘to launch urgent inquiry into child gender treatment’

Josh Milton April 23, 2022
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Sajid Javid

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid. (Future Publishing via Getty/ Wiktor Szymanowicz)

Tory health minister Sajid Javid is to launch an “urgent inquiry” into Britain’s already bogged-down trans youth healthcare system.

Javid will reportedly overhaul the gender-affirming treatments available to trans youth, which he said are “failing children”.

The health secretary is said to believe that young people are being given hormone therapies who do not need them, The Times reported Saturday (23 April)

“This has been a growing issue for years and it’s clear we’re not taking this seriously enough,” an “ally” of Javid told the newspaper.

The “ally” referenced an interim report into trans youth healthcare by former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Hilary Cass. The preliminary findings included the radical suggestion that maybe, just maybe, a single service for trans kids in the entire country isn’t a good idea.

The report called for a complete overhaul of the system, including more regional centres to care for trans and gender-diverse youth and better training.

“If you look at Hilary Cass’ interim report, the findings are deeply concerning,” the “ally” said, “it’s clear from the report that we’re failing children.”

The “ally” then said that a trans teen seeking healthcare may not be trans, but rather have been bullied or have experienced sexual assault – a bizarre claim that Javid himself once suggested.

“That overly affirmative approach where people just accept that a child says, almost automatically, and then start talking about things like puberty blockers – that’s not in the interest of the child at all,” the source added.

Multiple studies have shown that puberty blockers, a drug that acts as a pause button on puberty, improve mental health outcomes for trans children.

One study found that gender-affirming care for trans youth was associated with 60 per cent lower odds of depression and 73 per cent lower odds of suicidality over a period of one year.

As much as NHS services for trans kids were described as “overly affirmative”, countless young people have spent years on waiting lists to access “life-saving” care such as puberty blockers.

The source added that discussing trans youth treatments is comparable to talking about grooming gangs in Rotherham.

“There is the same theme of not being afraid to tackle issues that others might prefer not to talk about,” they said.

Javid told the House of Commons on Tuesday that NHS gender services for trans youth “borders on ideological” as lawmakers discussed the Cass review.

“And that is why in this emerging area, of course, we need to be absolutely sensitive,” he said.

“But we need to make sure that there is holistic care that’s provided, there’s not a one-way street and that all medical interventions are based on the best clinical evidence.”

For trans youth in Britain, there aren’t many options.

Tavistock Centre
Tavistock Centre. (YouTube)

Trans healthcare for adults in England and Wales is provided by seven NHS Gender Identity Clinics. But the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust runs the country’s only Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for young people.

Between 2019 and 2020, 2,242 young people were referred to the GIDS, according to the trust’s data. More than 4,600 were on the waiting list to be seen.

The i newspaper found that not a single trans person under 17 had been given an initial assessment with an endocrinologist, who assess and approve hormone therapies, between December 2020 and September 2021.

Nevertheless, the Tavistock centre has emerged as one of Britain’s battlegrounds over trans rights, whether clinicians like it or not.

So-called “gender-critical” groups have launched legal attacks against the care for trans and gender-diverse young people it offers. Tavistock officials, meanwhile, have been forced to deny allegations their clinicians offer “conversion therapy” to gay teens.

More than 10,600 trans and non-binary people are waiting for a first appointment at a gender clinic after being referred by their GP, according to Tavistock data. Last month, just 62 people who were referred in 2017 were finally offered a first appointment.

In some parts of Britain, the wait for a first appointment is as long as five years, trans health group GenderGP found.

PinkNews contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

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