A gender clinic in the United Kingdom that has been shut down for safety concerns now faces a class action lawsuit from children who claim the clinic rushed them onto puberty blockers.
The clinic, in Tavistock, West Devon, England, is in the process of shutting down following an external review that raised safety concerns, The Times of London reported. Now, the law firm Pogust Goodhead has announced it was preparing to sue the clinic and that it expects “at least 1,000 clients” to join the lawsuit.
“Children and young adolescents were rushed into treatment without the appropriate therapy and involvement of the right clinicians, meaning that they were misdiagnosed and started on a treatment pathway that was not right for them,” Tom Goodhead, chief executive of the law firm, told the Times. “These children have suffered life-changing and, in some cases, irreversible effects of the treatment they received . . . We anticipate that at least 1,000 clients will join this action.”
The still unfiled lawsuit would allege medical negligence, claiming vulnerable children were misdiagnosed and pushed into taking life-altering puberty blockers. The lawsuit would allege that the gender identity development service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust pushed the puberty blockers, which can have harmful side effects, on children. The lawsuit would also allege the clinic took an “unquestioning, affirmative approach” to children questioning their biological sex.
The law firm told the Times that it expects to file the lawsuit at the High Court within six months.
The impending lawsuit and clinic shutdown come after Dr. Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, conducted an external review of the clinic’s practices. Cass found, in an interim report, that the clinic didn’t take into account mental health issues faced by children experiencing gender dysphoria. The clinic also failed to collect data pertaining to the use and side effects of puberty blockers. In addition, it didn’t keep “routine and consistent data” on patients due to increased waiting lists, Sky News reported.
A spokesperson for GIDS told the Times that it “has not heard from Pogust Goodhead about this matter, but it would be inappropriate to comment on any current or potential legal proceeding.”
“The service is committed to patient safety. It works with every young person on a case-by-case basis, with no expectation of what might be the right pathway for them, and only the minority of young people who are seen in our service access any physical treatments while with us,” the group added.