My daughter can’t understand the risk, says mother The Times 12.10.19

The original article is here.

The mother whose daughter wants to start taking puberty blockers has “deep concerns” that the clinic allowed her child, who has autism and other mental health problems, to self-identify as transgender and said it had not considered the complexities of the child’s condition.She wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter’s identity and is referred to in a letter setting out her case as Mrs A.

The mother has described her perspective in supporting her daughter through this “distressing experience” in a statement and is seeking support for a crowd-funding appeal to support the legal action. Her 15-year-old daughter is going through a time of gender confusion. She has agreed that her daughter, referred to in the case as Child B, can join the waiting list for assessment and treatment at the trust’s gender identity development service but said that she had “significant reservations”.

Mrs A said: “I have deep concerns that the clinical approach at Gids [the gender identity development service] means that my daughter will be subjected to an experimental treatment path that is not adequately regulated, where there are insufficient safeguards, where her autism will not be properly accounted for and where no one, let alone my daughter, understands the risks and therefore cannot ensure informed consent is obtained.”

Mrs A argues that a disproportionate number of children seen at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the service in north London, are girls who have autism and other disabilities, or are gay. She claims that the trust has failed to assess their particular needs.

She added: “There are many parents, like me, who are anxiously trying to support their children through an already turbulent adolescence, with the additional distress of issues surrounding identity development. We want the best for our children, but we need this to be from a position of evidence-based, not experimental, medicine.”

The mother is seeking a judicial review to force the trust and NHS England, which commissions its services, not to give hormone-blocking treatment to her daughter unless another court decides this is in her interests.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust said: “It is not appropriate for us to comment in detail in advance of any proposed legal proceedings. The GIDS is one of the longest-established services of its type in the world with an international reputation for being cautious and considered. Our clinical interventions are laid out in nationally-set service specifications. NHS England, monitor our service very closely. The service has a high level of reported satisfaction and was rated good by the Care Quality Commission.”

An NHS spokesman said: “The priority has to be to deliver safe and effective treatment, so the NHS has recently confirmed we are reviewing all available evidence so as to publish an updated service specification next year.”