NHS drafts stricter guidelines for treating trans kids

Protect Trans kids

The NHS is considering stricter rules on providing care for trans kids, according to draft guidelines seen by Reuters.

The guidelines were briefly uploaded to the NHS England website at the end of September with a 45-day public comment period, according to Reuters, but were removed a short time later.

They reportedly suggest that if a young trans person has accessed affirming healthcare through a private provider online, the NHS can initiate “safeguarding protocols”.

The draft guidelines do not lay out what these protocols would involve, or what would be the criteria for triggering them.

The guidelines also state that only NHS professionals should refer young people for care related to their gender identity, and that meetings would be required between NHS staff and gender clinic staff to assess whether young people should be offered treatment, Reuters reported.

Cleo Madeline, a spokesperson for the charity Gendered Intelligence, which seeks to increase understanding of the experiences of trans people, told the publication that any new NHS guidelines should “focus on actually facilitating access to treatment and support rather than leaving young people and their families in limbo”.

The guidelines would form part of a review of NHS healthcare for trans kids after it was announced that the only service for trans people under the age of 18 – the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London – would be closing.

In 2020, NHS England commissioned Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, to conduct a review of care for gender diverse and trans children and young people.

In her interim report released in March, Cass called for decentralised care for trans youth in the form of regional centres to be set up across the UK “as soon as feasibly possible”, with experienced Tavistock staff involved in this process.

PinkNews has approached NHS England for comment.