Thursday, 13 June, 2024
HomeMedico-Legal1 000 families to sue UK gender identity service

1 000 families to sue UK gender identity service

Britain’s only children’s gender identity development service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, is to be sued by “at least 1 000 families”, alleging their children were rushed into taking life-changing puberty blocking drugs and now face “physical and psychological permanent scarring that will last the rest of their lifetimes”.

The action follows a recent announcement by the National Health Service (NHS) that the clinic would be closed over safety concerns, reports MedscapeUK.

That came after a highly critical independent review by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, concluding in its interim report that a single specialist provider was “not a safe or viable long-term option” and noting concerns about GIDS’ lack of peer review. Care of “gender questioning” youngsters – whose numbers have “risen exponentially” since 2011 – is instead to be allocated to a network of regional hospitals.

Lawyers pursuing group claim for criminal negligence

The group medical negligence claim alleges vulnerable children were misdiagnosed, recklessly prescribed puberty blockers with harmful side effects, placing them on a damaging medical pathway, and that GIDS had failed in its duty of care to the children.

The families are represented by law firm Pogust Goodhead, which specialises in large-scale group litigation. Lisa Lunt, head of product liability, said: “One of the most important tests we consider when looking at taking on cases is if there is a tangible and real loss, harm or impact on claimants.

“The group claim for clinical negligence against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (among other third parties) results from their failures in their duty of care towards young children and adolescents.

“While the provision of gender dysphoria treatment for children and young adolescents, where appropriate, is an important service, many have been let down by Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

“We believe there has been a real level of harm perpetrated against patients who were rushed into taking life altering puberty blockers without adequate consideration or proper diagnosis.”

The Cass review noted that some GIDS staff had felt “under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach” to children presenting with gender dysphoria, and that staff was not able to provide advice on the use of hormone treatments, which had already been subject to prolonged court action after a legal case brought by a child given puberty blockers before age 16 who subsequently decided to “de-transition”.

Pogust Goodhead Global managing partner Tom Goodhead said: “We believe there are potentially hundreds of young adults who have been affected by failings in care over the past decade at the Tavistock Centre, and we want to give them a voice in court. They were rushed into treatment without the appropriate therapy and involvement of the right clinicians, meaning they were misdiagnosed.”

The group claim could run into millions of pounds, he added. “We anticipate that at least 1 000 clients will join this action. It is vital that those children and young adolescents have access to justice.”


MedscapeUK article – 1000 Families to Sue Tavistock Gender Service (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Landmark UK ruling on puberty blockers for under-16s


‘Landmark’ UK case on puberty blockers yet to reach the High Court


US judge blocks part of controversial law, green-lights meds for transgender youth


UK to ban under-18s from surgery to change gender


US moves to limit transgender treatments for young Americans



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