Dozens of children under five were referred to the controversial Tavistock transgender clinic, prompting officials to consider implementing a minimum age requirement. The Mail has the story.
The pre-schoolers were among 382 youngsters, aged six and under, referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) over the past decade, official figures show.
Campaigners say they never should have been put forward by doctors or parents for psychological assessment at such a young age.
Health Service bosses are now considering introducing a minimum age of seven for future patients on the grounds that younger children are unable to communicate meaningfully with medics about wanting to identify as the opposite sex.
A new consultation by NHS England also acknowledges that little boys showing an interest in girls’ clothes or toys, or vice versa, is “reasonably common” and “usually not indicative of gender incongruence”.
It comes ahead of a long-awaited final report by consultant paediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass, which is expected to make further far-reaching recommendations about transgender services for young people after her interim study led to GIDS being ordered to shut down.
The Government is also trying to stop the spread of contentious gender identity ideology in schools, with Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch declaring that teaching children they can be born in the wrong body is harmful.
The GIDS clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in North London since 1989, had no lower age limit on referrals – but not all were accepted or led to treatment being provided.
Statistics produced by the trust show the astonishing growth in numbers of young people seen there over the past decade, from 136 in 2010-11 to 3,585 in 2021-22.
Further details show that 12 three year-olds were referred to the clinic over that period, along with 61 four year-olds, 140 five year-olds and 169 six year-olds.
The NHS trust that runs GIDS stressed no three year-olds would have received “treatment”, with staff normally holding a “one-off discussion” with parents or carers to provide support and advice.
But former Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price hit out at the clinic last night, saying: “They should never have been seeing three year-olds.
“There needs to be a clear message that goes out to let kids be kids. Let them play and use their imaginations. We shouldn’t be medicalising something which is just growing up.”