Tell the Health Secretary: Stop Medically Transitioning Children
In May 2019 it was reported that Drs Helen and Mike Webberley, a husband and wife team running a private transgender clinic, have now both been suspended from practice by the General Medical Council, following an investigation. Several areas of malpractice were highlighted which included prescribing cross-sex hormones to a 12 year-old child.
The Webberleys are not an isolated case: to date four doctors concerned with the healthcare of gender-confused patients have been suspended from practicing in the UK over concerns that they were rushing patients into inappropriate sex-change treatments including cross-sex hormones and surgery. In one case, a woman was persuaded to have a double mastectomy which she later came to regret.
Drs Helen and Mike Webberley seem undaunted by their suspension and have stated their intent to exploit a current loophole in regulation, allowing them to continue their private practice via a website portal and a clinic registered overseas in Spain.
The key criticisms made of both of the Drs Webberley by the GMC were as follows:
- the assessment process was not long or robust enough
- the doctors were not specialists in their field
- patients were not always seen physically
- patients were prescribed inappropriate hormone treatments
- their clinic was not registered with the UK’s regulator, the Care Quality Commission
- the doctors continued to operate gender services despite being under investigation thereby putting their patients at risk
According to the fees listed on the Webberley’s website, there appears to have been a significant profit motive for these doctors in managing their stated caseload of over 1600 patients.
It is outrageous that doctors such as the Webberleys believe that they ought to be able to operate outside of the regulatory framework and flout clinical guidelines designed to protect patient safety.
All of the four doctors who have so far been banned from practice, adopted an ‘affirmative’ approach to patients presenting with gender dysphoria meaning that they prescribed hormone treatments according to the wishes and demands of the patient without any in-depth clinical or pyschological evaluation of their needs. In many cases the doctors did not even meet their clients in person, relying instead upon a meeting via remote video-link.
The medical treatment of children by doctors like the Webberleys is of particular concern. Children should never be prescribed phsycially damaging treaments such as breast-binding or cross-sex hormones. Several leading professors in the field of evidence-based medicine have highlighted that medical treatments for under 18s with gender dysphoria remain experimental with a large number of unanswered questions about potential long-term side effects upon their physical development and mental health. From studies amongst adults, we know that the risks of cross-sex hormones include, but are not limited to, heart disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes and cancers.
The only study to date which followed pre-pubertal children who were socially affirmed and put on puberty blockers at a young age, found that 100% of them went on to claim a transgender identity and chose cross-sex hormones. 80% of people who experience gender confusion during childhood and adolescence find that this resolves in adulthood with no need for any kind of medical intervention.
A recent report in the British Medical Journal rejected the affirmative approach to transgender healthcare stating, “Regulated medical practitioners should follow a framework of evidence, not simply respond to client expectations”. The report also called for more research into the interplay between gender dysphoria, mental health conditions, sexual orientation and related paraphilia.
There is no proof that the affirmative approach prevents suicide in children and neither has transition-affirming protocol amongst adults, solved the problem of suicide amongst the transgender community.
The revelation about the Webberley’s clinic comes in the wake of the existing scandal regarding the treatment of transgender children at the Tavistock clinic reported by the Times, where it was revealed that children were being pressured to change their sex because of struggles with their sexual identity or pressure to conform to stereotypes.
The first step in the introduction of any legislation is for the House of Commons Select Committee on Health and Social care is to hold an inquiry into the healthcare provision for children and adolescents who identify as transgender. This must include input from all of the relevant professional bodies and organisations involved in the practice and application of evidence-based medicine and psychology.
The chair of this committee Sarah Wollaston MP has so far refused to consider this issue, believing it to be matter of LGBT rights rather than a pressing issue of public health and safeguarding.
Please sign this petition to both Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Sarah Wollaston, asking them to convene an inquiry as a matter of the utmost urgency.
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Stop Transitioning Children