NHS England 'draws up plans to allow children as young as seven to get transgender treatment'
NHS England 'draws up plans to allow children as young as seven to get transgender treatment'Follow @KnightsTempOrg
NHS England has drawn up plans to allow children as young as seven to receive transgender treatment, according to reports.
Regional centres in existing children's hospitals are replacing the shut down Tavistock centre, which allowed children to receive treatment from the age of three.
The clinic, which had no minimum age for a referral, was closed last year after a review from Dr Hilary Cass branded it as 'not safe'.
The regional centres will be led by doctors instead of therapists and will encourage the consideration of the impact of other factors such as autism or mental health issues in an individual's sense of gender dysphoria.
Crucially, under the plans, which have been seen by the Telegraph, only specialist mental health professionals or paediatric services will be able to offer a referral.
Previously, teachers or activists were able to refer a child to the Tavistock clinic.
The plans, seen by The Telegraph, say that by the time a child reaches the age of seven they are 'more established within school, and education professionals and school nurses will be able to contribute to a general observational view as to the appropriateness of a referral'.
But Dr David Bell, a former governor at the Tavistock clinic later known for speaking up about its practices, warned that the new system could 'easily be the first step' towards a medical transition.
He told the newspaper: 'Labelling the problem as a gender problem can easily be the first step on a pathway to medical transition.
'Their difficulties should not be designated as a gender problem, it is much more appropriate that they be seen as individuals who are distressed and this is one way in which that distress is expressed.'