First private hormone clinic for trans youth approved by England health regulator

The Gender Plus Hormone Clinic, a private clinic for transgender youth, is the first of its kind in the UK to be approved by England’s health watchdog.

With the approval of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), The Gender Plus Hormone Clinic may now prescribe hormones to patients aged over 16.

Announcing their CQC approval on their website, The Gender Plus Hormone Clinic confirmed that hormone prescriptions will be available to transgender and non-binary patients aged 16 and older, in line with the current national and international guidelines.

Various people hold up signs calling for trans youth and adults to be protected amid repeated attacks on healthcare rights, closure of gender identity services in England and more in the UK
The Gender Plus Hormone Clinic has become the first private hormone clinic for young patients to earn CQC approval. (Credit: Getty Images)

Those guidelines ensure that patients may only be prescribed hormones once they are assessed by clinical psychologists across three to six sessions.

A statement on the clinic’s website reads: “Regulation by the CQC ensures health and social care services in England are safe, effective and well-led, providing compassionate, high-quality care. 

“The Hormone Clinic is the only English independent gender child care prescribing service to be regulated by the CQC.”

As well as offering prescriptions and overseeing hormone treatment, the clinic will also have staff on hand to answer any hormone-related questions and provide support and medical input throughout the process that accounts for a patient’s gender, sexual orientation, mental health, and neurodiversity.

It states that the clinic, which has offices in London, Birmingham, and Dublin, will have gender identity psychological support available for young people who might be questioning their gender identity.

Thanks to a recent rise in hysteria surrounding the transgender community as a whole, the provision of gender-affirming care has become a topic of controversy, despite a growing pile of studies that prove its safety and life-saving effects.

Last April a UK survey found that just 0.47 per cent of gender identity clinic patients feeling regret after transitioning. A similar 2022 study from the Netherlands found that 98 per cent of trans teenagers who receive gender-affirming care like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) continued using it past their adolescence.

In September, an Australian study proved that access to gender-affirming healthcare significantly reduces rates of depression, gender dysphoria, and suicide among transgender people.

Now, the team behind The Gender Plus Hormone Clinic are hoping that their CQC approval will be the next step in proving the safety and quality of gender-affirming care.

Commenting on the CQC approval, the clinic’s founder and senior clinical psychologist Dr Aidan Kelly said: “In this area where there’s so much scrutiny and uncertainty from parents, patients and other professionals, this [CQC approval] is a stamp of approval and lets people know we are held to the highest standard.”

An NHS banner seen during a Pride in London parade.
The NHS’s Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the Tavistock Centre is scheduled to shut down in a matter of weeks. (Getty)

This promising update comes just a few weeks before the NHS’s only gender-identity service for children in England and Wales is scheduled to shut down.

The NHS’s Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the Tavistock Centre was originally set to shut in spring 2023, after the CQC rated it as “inadequate”, but those plans were pushed back to March 2024.

Last August, a freedom of information request revealed the horrifying wait times faced by trans people seeking gender-affirming care from the NHS. 

It revealed that the average wait time for a first appointment after being referred for medically-necessary gender-affirming care was 220 weeks.

In one instance, a patient had been waiting 35 years to receive gender-affirming care.

BBC News reports that young people seeking gender-affirming care currently face a five-year wait time for their first appointment through the NHS.

New NHS clinics are scheduled to open in the south of England in April and in the north-west of England this autumn.