NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) has been ordered by the Scottish Government to report on the service provided to the Sandyford Clinic for the treatment of gender dysphoria across Scotland.
A HIS spokesperson said: ‘There is currently no national standard of care for gender identity services in Scotland. The goal of the standards is to improve access to and delivery of gender identity health care to support the best outcomes and experiences for people who access it. Details of the guidelines are expected to be released in December 2023.
Concerns about gender identity services
The attention to gender identity services and concerns around the lack of standards in Scotland have arisen from growing criticism of the services provided in England. Last month, NHS England announced the closure of the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service, which provides gender services to children and young people.
The shutdown comes after the release of the interim findings of the independently conducted review, the Cass report. The Cass report was commissioned by NHS England and is led by Dr Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health and former president of the British Academy of Childhood Disability.
The interim report concluded that there were no "sstandardized approach to assessment or progression through the process” and “from the entry point to GIDS, there seems to be mainly an affirmative and not an exploratory approach” which has been “inconsistent with the standard clinical evaluation and diagnostic process that [Staff] have been trained to undertake all other clinical encounters”.
The Sandyford Youth Gender Clinic in Glasgow is the only provider of gender services for children and young people in Scotland. Annual referrals to the service have increased exponentially, resulting in a waiting list of about 3.5 years for youth service, according to Sandyford’s website.
The service is currently offering appointments to people who signed up in May 2019. David Bell, a psychiatrist who first raised concerns about Tavistock in 2018, called for the Sandyford clinic to be closed because the model is similar to the Tavistock scheme and susceptible to the same flaws identified in the Cass interim report.
Since the publication of the interim review in England, a number of participants in the Tavistock and Sandyford services have spoken publicly about their experiences and reflected the concerns detailed in the interim report regarding advice and treatment for of kind they received.
Do you have any concerns about your Tavistock or Sandyford treatment?
Some users feel they have been misdiagnosed and/or end up with irreversible, life-altering consequences due to hormone blockers and/or masculinizing and feminizing hormones.