On Thursday 28 July, NHS England announced that the current sole provider of gender identity health services for children and young people in England, NHS Tavistock and Portman (known by many simply as the Tavistock), will be replaced in Spring 2023 by two regional centres – one in London, and another in the North West.
This news follows recommendations from Dr. Cass’ independent review of these services, which recognised – as advocacy organisations have for decades – that the current GIDS service does not have the capacity to cope with growing demand, and there is a need for better all-round care.
The Tavistock was deemed unsafe as it could not cope with the numbers of young people waiting to attend the service and the independent review recognised that a three year waiting list is too long for children and young people to wait. Once these two centres are up and running, the plan is for NHS England to expand the sites across the country. We are cautiously optimistic that expanding the service and creating regional hubs will shorten waiting lists and create community care which will enhance holistic wrap around local services around the UK.
TENI would be delighted to see something similar happen in Ireland. Young people and their families have been waiting a long time for an Irish child and adolescent service to be created. The post of a consultant psychiatrist to start this service was advertised over a year ago and still has not been filled. How long do our families need to wait? It was unacceptable that families were forced to travel to the UK to access these services in the first place, and now that avenue is closed, the need for child and adolescent services is even more urgent.
(TENI’s response to the news that the Tavistock are closing their doors in the Spring of 2023. We echo the sentiments of Mermaids, a UK based charity that support transgender, non-binary and gender diverse young people and their families.)