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Topics related to gender identity - and issues that are relevant to many trans people's lives - have thankfully been receiving greater attention in the UK in recent years. This includes increasing interest in our service and what we do.

We welcome media enquiries about our work. Please contact our Trust’s dedicated press office who will be happy to help.

GIDS referrals increase in 2017/18

16 May 2018

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has seen an increase in the number of young people referred to our Gender Identity Development Service in 2017/18, compared to the previous year.

In 2017/18 there were 2,519 referrals received at the clinic. This represents a 25 per cent increase compared to the previous year which had 2,016 referrals. While this is an increase in referrals, the rate of increase has decreased compared to the previous year from 2016/2017, which itself was a reduced rate from the year before.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is a highly specialised clinic for young people presenting with difficulties with their gender identity development. Some people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. These feelings may or may not change or in some cases develop over time. We help our clients to explore their feelings and their priorities and choose the path that best fits with their needs and their lives.

In 2017/18, 1,806 of the referrals were for young people assigned female at birth (AFAB), and 713 for those assigned male at birth. Last year those numbers were 1400 and 616. This continues the trend of an increase in AFAB referrals proportionately.

Dr Polly Carmichael, Gender Identity Development Service Director and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, said:

“There is no single explanation for the increase in referral figures, but we do know in recent years that there has been significant progress towards the acceptance and recognition of transgender and gender diverse people in our society. There is also greater public knowledge about specialist gender clinics and the pathways into them, and an increased awareness of the possibilities around physical treatments for younger adolescents.

“Addressing the waiting list is a top priority for us. We appreciate how distressing it can be for young people and their families who are on the waiting list. We are doing all we can to bring down the waiting times, and are continuing to look for innovative new ways to shorten the wait such as group work and online video appointments - which have been welcomed by the young people. We have also created a telephone helpline for queries so that young people on the waiting list can speak with a clinician if necessary.

“Given the large increase in referrals in recent years it will take some time to address the waiting list of those young people waiting to be seen by the service. We also need to find and train the appropriate staff for these highly specialised roles, and that takes time.

“As the majority of our users do not take up physical treatment through our service, any decisions around hormone treatments need time and considered thought. The long term health and psycho-social wellbeing of young people is always our priority. In all our work we aim to be extremely careful to properly support people and allow them to explore their full range of options.

“Young people also have different support needs, depending on the age/stage of puberty they are at when referred, and we try to ensure that individual needs are taken into account as part of the service that we provide.”

A further breakdown of the figures is available on our 'referral numbers' page.

Improving support for trans youth conference

We're hosting a one-day conference about improving support for trans youth on Friday 2 February 2018. It will bring together health practitioners, youth workers, academics, third sector groups and other service providers to focus on the question of how to work together to better support trans young people.

The number of children and adolescents presenting as transgender or gender non-conforming has increased significantly over recent years. This increase has raised concerns about timely access to healthcare and also the appropriateness of specialist health services being the first or most effective source of psychological support.

Other agencies, such as community organisations, youth groups and schools play a vital role in providing support and resources to young people and their families, and are increasingly a first point of contact for those questioning their identity.

The conference will bring together health practitioners, youth workers, academics, third sector groups and other such service providers to focus on the question of how to work together to better support trans* young people.

Speakers include:

  • Ryan Gingell, Allsorts Brighton
  • Hannah Greenslade & Ellie Sinclair, Gender Space, Barnardo’s, Leeds 
  • Andy Hunt, Intercom Trust, Exeter
  • Jo Pearce, Gender Dysphoria Therapeutic Group, Solent CAMHS
  • Jay Stewart, Gendered Intelligence, London
  • Lisa Vine, Young Transgender Centre of Excellence, Leicester

There will also be ample opportunity for discussion, questioning, networking and learning.

The event is a collaboration between our Gender Identity Development Service, the Transforming Sexuality and Gender Research cluster, University of Brighton, and the University of Roehampton.

Dr. Bernadette Wren, Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Gender Identity Development Service, said:

“Increasingly, third sector organisations and charities, as well as Child and Adolescent and Mental Health Services and schools, are the first port of call for many gender questioning young people. Across the country, such organisations are providing regular groups and one-to-one meetings that offer emotional support, fun, mentoring and learning, as well as other kinds of vital help and information. 

“While referral onwards to a specialised service like our Gender Identity Development Service is one potential pathway, we can work together, and learn from each other, more effectively so as offer better-tailored support to gender diverse young people.”

*We use the term ‘trans’ as a collective term for a range of gender non-conforming experiences including non-binary trans, gender fluid, and gender questioning.

A warm welcome to the Gender Identity Clinic

From today the Tavistock and Portman will be the interim provider for the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), based near the Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith. Existing patients will continue to receive their care uninterrupted, with the same staff, in the same location.

GIC is the largest and oldest gender clinic in the UK, dating back to 1966. It accepts referrals from all over the UK for people with issues related to gender. It is a multi-disciplinary administrative and clinical team, including psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists and speech and language therapists. We work together in order to provide holistic gender care, focusing on the biological/medical, psychological and social aspects of gender.

As demonstrated by the Channel 4 documentary series Kids on the Edge, our work on gender identity shows how we apply our unique approach as a thought leader in mental health and identity issues to address a rising need for a holistic and considered approach.

Paul Jenkins, our Chief Executive, said: ‘We are delighted to be providing this service in 2017/18 and we wish all of our new staff a very warm welcome. We look forward to working with the GIC team to provide the best possible outcomes for service users, and we welcome their contributions to our work as thought leaders in mental wellbeing and identity.’

The service has launched a new website with information for service users and patients, along with referral information for medical professionals. You can visit the new site at https://gic.nhs.uk