LGBT Foundation responds to NHS England’s Interim Service Specification that’s set to replace the current Gender Identity Development Service for children and young people
Published: November 1, 2022 by
LGBT Foundation has serious concerns about NHS England’s Interim Service Specification to replace the current Gender Identity Development Service for children and young people.
Our main concerns are that:
Barriers to accessing the service have been increased, leaving children and young people with less access to a service that has already been failing to meet the demands of service users for a number of years. This leaves children and young people without essential support or treatment to keep them safe.
For those children and young people who do manage to be seen by the service, additional barriers have been put in place which will prevent them from accessing essential medication.
Young people will be required to take part in a clinical study in order to access hormone blockers or cross-sex hormones, meaning that they cannot meaningfully consent to take part in this research in a way that is ethical.
The specification actively discourages the exploration of gender, questioning gender stereotypes, and social transition under the grounds that gender incongruence in childhood may be a ‘transient phase’. Families and primary care facilitators are advised not to respect children and young people’s names or pronouns, and not to affirm social transition prior to diagnosis.
Young people experiencing mental health issues or any neurodiversity such as autism or ADHD may be forced to delay their treatment until they have been able to access interventions for these experiences first.
Evidence shows that 94% of young people maintain their gender identity following social transition and that social transition itself is a key protective factor in alleviating dysphoria and distress and suicide prevention (Olson et al., 2022).
We encourage the use of the WPATH-approved DSM-5-TR and ICD-11 diagnostic criteria for ‘gender incongruence’, as this is more up-to-date and aligned with international clinical best practice than the outdated ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnosis.
We are calling on allies to respond to the Public Consultation (open until 4th December) and tell NHS England what trans and non-binary young people and their families need from an inclusive and affirming service: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/specialised-comm…
LGBT Foundation will be working on making the consultation more accessible and providing our communities with more information in the coming weeks.
If you have concerns or are affected in any way by the launch of this Service Specification, contact our helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 or email HELPLINE@lgbt.foundation.