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Great Ormond Street Hospital's new gender clinic faces staff resignations before doors even open

19 January 2024
Great ormond street hospital childrens medical care

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, one of two new NHS children's gender clinics set to open this April, has experienced a setback with several experts resigning over concerns about staff training.

The clinic, part of a replacement plan for the controversial Tavistock clinic, aims to address the needs of over 6,000 children who have been waiting over a year for support.

The resignations reportedly stemmed from disagreements on the approach to child health within the training materials, with some experts advocating for an "exploratory" rather than an "affirmative" approach, as recommended by Dr Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Dr Cass's review suggested a departure from Tavistock's methods, focusing on a broader spectrum of mental health and paediatric expertise, which would consider conditions beyond gender dysphoria.

Concerns have also been raised about puberty blockers, with Dr Cass warning about their potential irreversible impact on brain development. Despite these warnings, their use has reportedly increased.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has been commissioned to complete the staff training guidance within six weeks. The AoMRC acknowledged the time constraints but emphasised the importance of starting the service as planned.

GOSH stated it had produced high-quality materials aligned with the Cass Review and existing evidence, despite the differing views within the team. The clinic, in collaboration with Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, is part of a broader plan, including another hub in North West England.

Dr Cass's full report is expected later this year, which will further inform the guidelines for treating children experiencing gender dysphoria.

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