Tavistock transgender clinic could face mass legal action

Tavistock transgender clinic could face mass legal action

Thousands of young people were treated by the Tavistock centre in north London – and in many cases were prescribed powerful drugs to delay the onset of adolescence.

And now, former patients of the NHS's gender identity clinic for children may take legal action against it.

The expert carrying out a review into the clinic has warned of potentially serious side-effects of 'puberty-blocker' drugs.

Dr Hilary Cass told NHS England there is no way of knowing if the medication may 'disrupt' the process of children deciding on their gender identity, rather than 'buying time' for them.

She also raised concerns that the drugs could interrupt the process of the brain maturing, affecting children's ability to exercise judgment.

Her findings raise the prospect that patients treated at the Tavistock and their parents may now sue the NHS for compensation.

They could try to prove they were damaged by the medication, which staff at the centre are said to have claimed was 'fully reversible' despite a lack of evidence.

The patients may also claim they could not have given informed consent to take the drugs given the lack of knowledge about their long-term effects.

A high-profile court case was previously brought against the Tavistock by Keira Bell, who transitioned after being prescribed puberty blockers but later regretted it.

Judges initially ruled that under-16s could not consent to the treatment but the ruling was overturned on appeal.

James Esses, co-founder of Thoughtful Therapists, said: 'I have been contacted by a number of detransitioners who are considering taking legal action.

'Already in the USA there are class lawsuits being taken by parents of children prescribed puberty blockers. It is only a matter of time until we see similar action on our shores.'

'Far too many children have been left with physical and emotional scars from decisions we should never have let them make.'

Barrister Simon Myerson QC predicted that the scandal could even lead to a criminal investigation.

He claimed months ago 'that the next wave of legal action will be in respect of gender identity and children' and now believes 'closing the Tavistock will accelerate that process'.

'Interesting to see which solicitors firms do the work. I predict a police investigation into the Tavistock by June 2023,' he wrote on Twitter.

'We're in the extraordinary position that drugs prescribed to children as safe and reversible appear not to have yet been subject to clinical trials in respect of the purpose for which those children received them. There is thus unlikely to be informed consent to taking them.'

Any claims against the Tavistock would be handled by NHS Resolution, which deals with clinical negligence claims across the country. Latest figures show it paid out £1.7billion in damages to patients in the past year.