News

Media enquiries

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.

Mermaids data breach

It has come to our attention that Mermaids was apparently responsible for a serious data breach in which 450 email chains from 2016 and 2017 were shared. We understand these included information relating to families supported by the charity. Mermaids has posted a statement on their website, apologising for the breach and stating they have been working with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

If you have been affected and are distressed by this, or have concerns that you would like to raise with our service, please do get in touch. To be clear, this breach has nothing to do with the Gender Identity Development Service. We have never shared patient information with Mermaids.

Our Leeds clinic pilots earlier contact through telephone consultations

Our GIDS clinic in Leeds is piloting a new way of supporting young people and their families through telephone consultations.

When children under ten are added to our Leeds waiting list, we are offering the option of speaking with a clinician on the telephone in the first instance.

The children on the pilot get to speak with a clinician earlier than their first in-person appointment. These calls offer a supportive introduction to the service. They provide current information about our service and the approach we usually take with younger children. This enables younger children and their families to think about when might be the right time to come for a face-to-face appointment at GIDS. We treat every young person who visits our service individually on a case-by case basis, with no preference or expectation for what the right outcome might be for any individual.

This telephone pilot does not delay their wait for a first in-person appointment, but is an additional means of support while they are waiting. Earlier support can be of real assistance to families looking for help to understand and manage the situation. Not having to travel for these consultations also benefits the young person and their family.

The phone appointments are with the clinician who is scheduled to see them for their in-person appointment, which can make the visit for their first appointment less stressful.

The needs of younger children experiencing distress around their gender identity are different to those who are older and may be starting puberty. This new consultation allows younger children and their families to decide together whether they need to come for a face-to-face appointment as early as possible, or whether the phone consultation in combination with other types of support, perhaps more local to them, is the better option for them for the time being. This may have the effect of reducing the waiting times to be seen for face-to-face appointments for those young people closer to puberty.

Feedback from young people and their families has been extremely positive so far. A family on the pilot said: “We like the way that we can access support from GIDS via the telephone, which saves time on travel and time out of work. We have had some really good advice, and I feel reassured that further support will be available when our child needs it in the future.”

We are now starting a formal service user review for families who have received calls.

Polly Carmichael, Director of GIDS, says: “We are always thinking of new ways to support the young people who are waiting to be seen by our service. After an evaluation of this pilot, we hope to provide this swifter form of support more broadly.”

GIDS review

The Tavistock and Portman has been delivering the Gender Identity Development Service for 30 years. The Trust is proud of its world-leading work in this field.

The Trust has thoroughly investigated the concerns raised in Dr Bell's report. None of the concerns around safety or safeguarding were upheld by our Medical Director.  The recommendations made by Dr Sinha mainly focused on standardising and evidencing our very thoughtful and personalised processes in a field where clinicians grapple daily with high levels of complexity, sparse evidence and great variety in the young people coming forward, their developmental stage, feelings, histories and hopes.

The service prides itself in taking a perspective on issues of gender identity which is independent, open-minded and based on the needs of an individual young person. Our clinicians work thoughtfully with young people addressing complex issues and appropriately extending assessments on a case-by-case basis.

We are disappointed this unsubstantiated report authored by individuals with no expertise in this field  made its way to the Sunday Times and would urge caution about reproducing its content. It is also important to point out that the report presented hypothetical vignettes rather than actual case studies and does not reflect the practice of the Service.