A MEDICAL Practitioners’ Tribunal began hearing evidence in July 2021 against Dr Helen Webberley, a GP from Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
It found 83 allegations that she failed to provide ‘good clinical care’ during 2016/17 to be unproven, and 36 proven. A decision on her fitness to practise is still to be determined and the tribunal will reconvene next month to decide on the penalty to follow its recently issued findings.
Dr Webberley is quite a heroine of the transgender cause. Described by Sarah Phillimore, a family lawyer who writes on child protection developments, as ‘a longstanding and enthusiastic proponent of medical transition for children’, she has a special interest in ‘transgender patients’.
She has prescribed testosterone for girls under 16 via a variety of online services such as MyWebDoctor (MWD) and Gender GP, a ‘standalone private service’ that she claims to have founded but which, according to its site, is owned by ‘Singapore based Gender GP PTE Ltd, a global organisation which provides advocacy services for LGBTQI+ people around the world’.
Dr Webberley has form. On October 5, 2018, she was convicted of two counts in relation to the ‘carrying on or managing of an independent medical agency’ without it being registered under the Care Standards Act 2000 and was fined £12,000 by Merthyr magistrates.
This latest tribunal found Dr Webberley competent to provide trans sex hormones to children, but that her record-keeping was inadequate. She failed to record, or ‘properly consider consent’, or provide adequate follow-up care, leaving one ‘child in a state of anguish’.
The accusations centre on three patients – girls aged 11, 12 and 17 at the time, who were ‘transitioning from female to male’. The tribunal declared that ‘transgender healthcare was an evolving medical discipline’ with experts divided on best practice but the chairman, barrister Angus Macpherson, nonetheless felt able to make some definitive statements on medical practice.
He declared: ‘The tribunal finds that the reluctance of the Endocrine Society and others to embrace enlightened views of transgenderism is symptomatic of the tendency in all professions to be slow to move with the times. This inertia in respect to medical attitudes to transgenderism mirrors past attitudes to homosexuality.’ People who object to the medical transition of young children are therefore ‘unenlightened’ and their opinions equivalent to homophobia.
Mr Macpherson also said that Dr Webberley ‘may have been considered as being “at the vanguard” of the evolving approach to transgender healthcare’. He commented that there was ‘immense pressure’ on the NHS England Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) and that at the time of the allegations some service users were ‘left in a state of desperation’. He found it ‘hardly surprising’ that some patients sought out Dr Webberley as an alternative.