New specialist gender service starts

10 Apr 2024, 9 a.m.

A teenager sits on a sofa in a counselling space, wearing a yellow hoodie whilst a medical professional discusses their experience with them.

This page was updated on 10 April 2024 following publication of the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People, led by Dr Hilary Cass.

New specialist gender service update – posted 10 April

A spokesperson for the NHS Children’s and Young People’s Gender Service (London) said: “We are proud to have started the gender service for children and young people last week on 2 April. We have already begun seeing the first children and young people.

“Our service is built around supporting the whole person, considering their physical and mental health, including emotional, psychological and social needs. We want to understand the individual needs of children and young people, and draw on a broad team of professionals, who work with them to provide safe, appropriate, care.

“As an NHS specialist commissioned service, we are closely following NHS England guidelines informed by Dr Cass’s interim report. We will continue to do so pending any changes that may follow from NHSE’s response to the Cass Review’s final report.”

New specialist gender service – posted 1 April

A new specialist service for children and young people who need gender-related care and support from the NHS starts 2 April.

The NHS Children and Young People’s Gender Service (London), focuses on delivering the best possible care, advice and support for those needing help with their gender identity and the feelings it causes. The service has been set up in response to the significant increase in the number of children and young people needing support with their gender identity. People are being offered appointments this week.

They will be supported with their mental and physical health, including emotional, psychological and social aspects.  This will involve working with a team of health professionals that includes specialist children’s doctors, mental health clinicians and youth and support workers. The service will adapt over time following best practice, the latest evidence and learning from children and young people.

This important service is provided by a partnership between Evelina London Children’s Hospital (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Together, the trusts bring a wealth of expertise in child health and development, and strong links to mental health.

'The service will evolve in line with emerging best practice and evidence'

Speaking for the London service, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children’s Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Shaw said:

“We exist to help children and young people with complex health needs fulfil their potential. This is exactly what this much-needed service is about. It will evolve over time in line with emerging best practice and evidence at our service and nationally and globally.

“I would like to thank all those who have been involved in setting up this new service in what has been a complex environment. I would particularly like to thank the staff who have stepped forward to deliver care.”

Gubby Ayida, Chief Executive for Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “We support children and young people with a range of specialist services, and are committed to improving their health and wellbeing.

“We believe we can use our skills and expertise to make a significant contribution to the care provided to children and young people accessing this new service.”

David Bradley Chief Executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “There is an overwhelming need for improved and expanded gender services for children and young people. As a leading provider of mental health services, we feel it is our duty to play an active role in this new service to help improve young people’s lives.

“With the new holistic approach, we feel our skills and experience in both delivering care, and in research and innovation, perfectly complements the expertise of our partners in the south regional centre.”

More about the service

Initially the service will focus on the safe transfer and care of children and young people currently under the care of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service, which was previously the only NHS provider of gender services for young people.

The service aims to open to referrals for children and young people from the waiting list later in 2024, when it has capacity to receive them. Recruitment of staff began in November 2023 and is ongoing. We are working hard to recruit the right skill mix of people and to settle into a permanent community base so we can provide the best possible service.

Commissioned by NHS England, the new service will start on 2nd April 2024 with two regional centres. The other is in the north west and is a partnership between Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust).

The service has been designed through national professional and public consultation, and feedback to deliver improved care and support. The two regional centres are the first to be opened as part of a wider proposal by NHS England to create up to seven or eight regional centres across the country.

The new service will follow NHS England's policy on puberty suppressing hormones and gender affirming hormones.

The service will also work with other healthcare providers local to children and young people, such as primary and social care, including GPs and local mental health teams.

We will provide further updates in the coming months and at key points as the service develops.

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