Sajid Javid 'to launch inquiry into gender treatment' as system is 'failing children'

23 April 2022, 07:58 | Updated: 23 April 2022, 09:32

Sajid Javid is reported to be launching an urgent inquiry into the system.
Sajid Javid is reported to be launching an urgent inquiry into the system. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Sajid Javid is 'set to launch an urgent inquiry into child gender treatment' as he believes the system is 'failing children'.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Vulnerable young people are wrongly being given gender hormone treatment by the NHS, the Health Secretary is said to believe.

He is planning to overhaul the system, changing the way health service staff deal with those under the age of 18 who question their gender identity, the Times reported.

The paper also suggested that Mr Javid compared political sensitivities over gender to fears of racism in Rotherham over grooming gangs.

Read more: Home Office staff are 'told to add their gender pronouns to work emails'

Read more: Transgender shoelace killer now identifies as a baby and demands prison provides nappies

Specialist clinics run by the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, Leeds and Bristol are the country's only services for children who identify as trans.

The trust has faced criticism for rushing children into life-changing treatment as well as being too open to giving puberty blockers to teenagers.

However, in 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the right of the trust to give puberty blockers to under-16s if they were deemed capable of consent.

'These books are very gendered and have a big role to play.'

"This has been a growing issue for years and it's clear we're not taking this seriously enough,” an ally of Mr Javid said, according to the paper.

"If you look at Hilary Cass' interim report, the findings are deeply concerning and it’s clear from that report that we’re failing children."

They added that mental health, bullying and sexual assault are just some of the issues that could instead be causing problems for a child.

"That overly affirmative approach where people just accept what a child says, almost automatically, and then start talking about things like puberty blockers — that's not in the interest of the child at all," they said.

James O'Brien reflects on gender neutral aisles in toy shops

Former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Hilary Cass has been leading the review into NHS gender identity services for children.

Interim findings revealed that doctors felt pressured to adopt an unquestioning approach to children seeking to change their sex.

Dr Cass also wrote in her review that children were being affected by a "lottery" of care and long waiting lists.

Speaking in the House of Commons about the Cass report on Tuesday, Mr Javid said: "It's already clear to me from her interim findings and from the other evidence that I've seen that the NHS services in this area are too narrow, they are overly affirmative, and in fact they're bordering on ideological.

He added: "We need to make sure that there is holistic care that's provided, there's not a one-way street and that all medical interventions are based on the best clinical evidence."

A spokesman for Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust said: "Being respectful of someone's identity does not preclude exploration.

"We agree that support should be holistic, based on the best available evidence, and that no assumptions should be made about the right outcome for any given young person."

The Department for Health and Social Care refused to comment.