Children under ten are having their sex changed on medical records in a move that an expert says could put their health at risk.
A paediatrician has warned that routine tests could be wrongly interpreted if GPs do not know the birth sex of their patient.
She told The Mail on Sunday she had seen half a dozen young people, aged from under ten to their mid-teens, given a new name and gender on official health documents. In some cases, they were given a new NHS number, meaning that their original records had been replaced with ones that did not mention their birth sex.
The children’s doctor, who asked to be anonymous, said: ‘Recording if someone is male or female is vital in their medical care. Without this information, all sorts of misdiagnosis could take place.’
She said there was a potential problem over monitoring a child’s physical development. ‘Whenever we see a child we weigh and measure them,’ she said. ‘The results are then plotted on a chart and the chart is sex-specific because girls and boys grow at different rates and times during their development.
‘If you don’t know a child’s sex, you could misdiagnose them as failing to thrive or being overweight,’ she added. Conditions such as pregnancy could be missed, she said. ‘If you have a 15-year-old girl who complains of abdominal pain, your first thought is, “I hope she is not pregnant.”
‘But if that teenager is presenting as a boy, you would obviously not be thinking along those lines.’
NHS England and the General Medical Council have issued guidance that says all patients, including children, can freely change their sex on their medical records. They can do so without undergoing ‘gender-reassignment treatment’ or having a Gender Recognition Certificate, which requires a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the guidelines say.