NHS Arden & GEM National Referral Support Service

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GIDS update – judicial review to proceed

28 February 2020

A judge has this week decided that the proposed judicial review of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) approach may proceed to a hearing. We welcome the opportunity this provides to talk about the service and to stand up for our dedicated staff who put the best interests of the young people and families at the heart of their practice.

GIDS provides a thoughtful and measured service for children, young people and their families who come to us in considerable distress. Our clinicians have no preconceptions about outcomes for the young people who are referred to our service, all of whom are provided with psycho-social support throughout their time with us. While physical intervention is only accessed by a minority of our patients, it is important that this option remains available and is informed by the latest evidence.

It is very clear from our first-hand experience of working with these young people and their families that, for some, doing nothing is not a neutral act. We also believe in the rights of young people, with support from their families and clinicians, to make informed decisions about their care, in the way they would do in any other aspect of their health.

We welcome the opportunity to make the case for the quality of care the service provides in a thorough and nuanced way. Our work in GIDS is provided in accordance with best practice and relevant national and international specifications and guidelines.

We are disturbed by the level of misinformation in relation to the support provided to these young people. The often-toxic debate around the topic has caused considerable distress to patients and families. We hope the hearing will serve to set the record straight and put centre-stage the voice and interests of young people living with gender dysphoria.

We recognise that supporting young people who experience distress around their gender identity is an area of clinical practice that warrants regular review by relevant experts. As such, we welcome the scheduled review by NHS England of their specification, to which we work, and the opportunity to think with others about how to continually improve on the care we provide. It is vital that any interventions we offer are based on the latest evidence and sanctioned at the highest levels by those most knowledgeable, both experts in their clinical and medical specialities and experts by experience.

We have been very touched by, and would like to thank, the patients and families who have contacted us to offer support for the work that we do.

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