- 07 Apr 23
According to the latest figures from HSE, 72 transgender youths on the clinic‘s waiting list "are previous referrals for children/young people from Ireland."
Although the findings from the internal review were presented to HSE's executive management committee as early as February 21, the full report of the Tavistock gender identity clinic was not shared until April 5.
The Tavistock Clinic, as the lone supplier in the UK, was struggling to meet the demand for its services. Dr. Hilary Cass did an evaluation last August and discovered that the clinic was unable to meet the needs of trans people.
To address this issue, it was suggested that the National Health Service (NHS) establish multiple regional hubs across the UK to provide gender-affirming healthcare treatments. It was suggested that a more decentralised approach would be more suitable.
Since 2012, the HSE has referred 230 Irish patients to Tavistock for psychiatric evaluation under the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS). This is a small number compared to the 5,000 patients currently on the Tavistock waiting list.
According to the HSE research, family members of trans youth have complained about a lack of gender-related services in Ireland, in the past. It states that "the slow development of specialist services for children and young people expressing gender dysphoria in Ireland is adding to risk."
The HSE has defended its relationship with the Tavistock clinic in the UK, which provides psychological assessment and support for children with gender identity issues. The clinic is to close next year after an interim report criticised its services | https://t.co/lnyD1FiVU2 pic.twitter.com/z9GrqWGJxX
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 9, 2022
Despite recent investment commitments, the report acknowledges that "service provision for children and young people has fragmented and deteriorated. The course through the clinical pathway is lengthy, so the risk of anxiety and emotional distress for parents and children/young people alike may be heightened by uncertainty and isolation."
There have been previous claims that the Tavistock Clinic was harmful for LGBTQ+ youth. However, the HSE's internal review concluded that "there is no evidence that hormonal treatment or other physical intervention has been fast-tracked." According to reports, no family had any issues regarding the quality of the services offered.
The lack of access to services in Ireland is one of the main criticisms in the figure. One of the interviewed families said, "The mental strain and emotional distress experienced by their children and their family over the course of their transition was immense. Their child experienced social isolation, bullying at school, and mental illness."
It further says that the approach of the professionals at the Tavistock clinic was "cautious and procedural rather than gender-affirming." Many families have been frustrated by how long trans youths have had to wait before being prescribed puberty blockers.
To improve the treatment of gender dysphoria, the HSE will "establish a group during 2023 to develop an updated model of care, [which] will be led by an expert clinician from a relevant specialty who will oversee this process and ensure widespread stakeholder engagement."
"The HSE’s goal is to develop a person-centred model of care and invest in an integrated service that meets the needs of transgender people in Ireland," the report states.