Tory minister Sajid Javid changing law to let researchers access trans people’s medical records

Sajid Javid walks towards Downing Street

Health secretary Sajid Javid intends to change the law to let researchers access trans people’s private medical histories.

In the Tory minister’s latest chilling attack against trans rights, Javid announced Friday (1 July) he will overhaul the law to open up the medical records of around 9,000 trans people who received gender-affirming healthcare in the last decade

Under the current law, health and care records are confidential. According to the Gender Recognition Act, the medical data of trans people who have legally changed their gender can only be accessed if the “information does not enable that person to be identified” or individual consent has been given.

When a trans person legally changes their gender – so obtains a Gender Recognition Certificate – they are also given a new NHS number, which further complicates getting a hold of trans people’s medical records.

Since the GRA came into force in 2004, less than 5,000 trans people have been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate, according to the government.

Sajid Javid introduced an amendment to the GRA on Friday (1 July) to allow the records of young people who received gender-affirming healthcare between 2009 and 2020 to be pried open as part of the ongoing Cass Review, The Times reported.

The amendment will go into effect in one month.

He tweeted: “Today I proposed a change in law so that @Hilary_Cass independent review into childhood gender dysphoria can access historical records. It’s vital the review is rooted in the highest quality evidence.”

The Cass Review, commissioned by NHS England and led by Dr Hilary Cass, is reviewing trans healthcare in the UK. It was launched in 2020.

Trans healthcare for adults in England and Wales is provided by seven NHS Gender Identity Clinics. But the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust runs the country’s only Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for young people.

Preliminary findings from the Cass Review found the Tavistock is under intense strain, with trans youth facing years-long waiting times that can leave them “at considerable risk”.

The report included the revolutionary suggestion that a single service for trans kids in the entire country isn’t the best.

The entire system, the report says, should be overhauled, with more regional centres opened to care for trans and gender-diverse youth and better-trained staff.

A separate report by the Care Quality Commission in 2020 found there were more than 4,600 young people on the GIDS waiting list, with some waiting over two years for their first appointment. Commission inspectors rated Tavistock as “inadequate” as a result.

Sajid Javid, meanwhile, has increasingly taken aim at trans rights. In April, The Times revealed that Javid intends to launch an “urgent inquiry” into the trans youth healthcare system, one he told Parliament “borders on ideological“. He has also linked children being trans with “child sex abuse“.