Tavistock: NHS trans youth clinic closure delayed after replacement stalls

An outside shot of the entrance of the Tavistock Clinic.

The Tavistock Centre’s Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) clinic is set to remain open for the remainder of 2023, after closure delays were announced.

NHS England’s (GIDS) was set to be replaced by new regional centres after recommendations by Dr Hilary Cass were published in a February 2022 interim report.

But plans to close the UK’s only service for trans youth have been delayed to March 2024 after the NHS said the “complexity” of the project required “revisions to the timetable.”

According to a programme report on the development of the regional centres, the southern hub will begin mobilising in autumn 2023, while the northern hub is set to establish early stages of care by April 2024.

“During 2023/24, the GIDS at Tavistock will focus on providing continuity of care for their open caseload of around 1,000 patients,” the statement read.

“Continuing workforce capacity constraints within the GIDS, combined with the need to provide ongoing care for the large open caseload means that the Tavistock is not currently offering any new first assessment appointments.”

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LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said in a statement reported by the BBC that it was “pleased” the continuity of care was being considered while welcoming the regional hubs.

Help trans youth at ‘earliest point’

“However, we remain concerned about waiting times and urge NHS England to continue to communicate plans and provide further support for those on the waiting list.”

According to private healthcare organisation GenderGP, current NHS waiting times for a gender dysphoria diagnosis and subsequent care for over-18s can range from 37 – 60 months.

For under-18s, the current waiting times while the NHS is still operating GIDS is an average of 39 months or more.

In the interim report, Dr Cass called on the NHS to help transgender youth “at the earliest feasible point in their journey” and suggested medical professionals schedule “intake meetings” to help fast-track care for those deemed “at risk.”

While the interim review noted that it is not the final stage of recommendations, the call to overhaul the current system was built on the goal of providing a “wider pathway” for trans youth.

“The review team will work with NHS England and stakeholders to further define the proposed model and workforce implications,” the report read.

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