en English

On this special episode of the GenderGP podcast, Helen and Marianne sit down and talk about the upcoming Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service hearing. Helen shares her hopes and fears for what’s to come, talks about her support from the community, and tells her story – in her own words.

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The GenderGP Podcast

Implications of the MPTS Hearing

 

Helen:
Hello, this is Dr. Helen. Webberley welcome to our Gender GP podcast, where we will be discussing some of the issues affecting the trans and non-binary community in the world today together with my co-host Marianne Oaks, a trans woman, herself and our head of therapies.

Hi, everyone on a slightly different podcast today. It’s just Marianne and I, and I have to say for the first time I feel nervous. I feel a bit kind of, uh, I dunno, emotional, I guess, because what we are talking about the last five years and how Gender GP started, how it progressed, and then how it has ended up in a, at the end of July in a, a big 55 day tribunal hearing, which will be hearing, um, whether my medical license, um, can be reinstated. It’s been a long, long journey, but I thought it would be a good idea just to share with you how things have unraveled. And I’ve got my good friend Marianne with me today because she’s been with me from the start and she’s a good sounding board and anyone out there who’s ever had a, a cry on Marianne’s shoulder.

I think, you know, she’s an appropriate person to guide me through the story that I’m about to tell you. So back in 2015, I was a, a GP in a small Valley’s village in Wales as quite a deprived area. And I was one of those doctors who kind of thought that I’d never really met that many trans people before. We certainly didn’t have lots and lots of trans patients in our surgery, if any, at all. So I’d obviously I’d met trans patients in my work doing sexual health, but not in a kind of general practice setting. And one day a patient came to see me. She was about 55 ish, I guess. So we’re in Wales, we’re in the valleys. And she said to me, I want to transition and how do I go about it? And I was like, I dunno, I’ve got no idea.

You know, I’m fairly new to Wales. I don’t know how this is gonna go, but I’ll look it up and I’ll come back to you and come back and see me next week. So I did a bit of research and I realized when she came back to see me next week, um, and told her what I’d found as I told her, what we had to do, basically what I was telling her was she would have to get on a train from this valley village. And there would be one change on the train to get to Cardiff another change from Cardiff to get to London. And she would have to go to London on this train and turn up at the clinic there wearing a dress. She’d have to go wearing something that made her look like a woman. And she would have to then see the consultants there.

And as I was telling her this story, you know, even the first bit, even the first bit getting on the train to the local train station to do the change to card, if was just not in this person’s radar, nevermind presenting female on a train into London where she’d never before. As I kind of relayed the story, my words fell away. And I was like, this is just not gonna happen. Is it? And we, we both shook our heads. And I said, I tell you what, come back next week. I’ll look up how to do it. <laugh> and next week we’ll have a chat. So she came back next week, by which time I’d looked up, how to do it. And actually what I’d realized was so somebody who wants to undergo medical transition, they’re born with a body that makes the wrong set of hormones for them.

So if you’re a trans female, your body makes the testosterone hormone. And if you’re born with a, a female looking body, your ovaries will make that estrogen hormone. It gives you the changes that everyone recognizes to be female, but actually what trans people who are wanting to medically transition, they want the hormone that matches their identity so that they have the external body features and the internal kind of psychological features that match their gender identity. And these are kind of hormones that I, myself, as a GP and a sexual health health, doctor was really, really used to manipulating whether it’s contraception, um, for younger people, whether it’s, uh, men menopause treatment for older, oh, middle aged, sorry. <laugh> sorry. All you menopausal people out there. People, these are hormones I’m so used to dealing with. And so basically we said, right. Okay, well, let’s put you on there.

A hormone replacement therapy, that’s more associated with female. I E estrogen. I found loads of stuff on the internet about protocols and shared care agreements and the way that it should be done. And it was easy peasy. And she was delighted. We had a really good relationship and it worked out really well. And then it was at the same time, I was really interested developing the digital technology and medicine. Why was everyone shopping on the internet? Why was everybody banking on the internet? But no one was doing healthcare on the internet and I’d made a little webpage just because I love technology love, stuff like that. Sorry, Marianne. I know that’s not your, not your favorite. And I made a website and, um, I put some information on there, all the things that I had discovered about helping trans people and, and, and where trans people should go for help.

And I put it on there, there, and I always say it was like, I woke up the next morning and there was just a massive deluge of people. Who’d come to my little tiny one page website. And I just thought, goodness gracious me. There is a need here. There is a need for information for people who were wanted knowledge about medical transition. So I researched some more and I wrote some more and I, I looked at more guidelines and I tried to look for training, but there wasn’t any. And then as I was looking, I came across the stories of people who were trying to access healthcare at the moment and my heart. I, I, I, I dunno, I don’t know what I, it was awful. The stories that I was hearing of self harm and suicide and anxiety and depression of prejudice, of discrimination, of poor access to care.

And I, I was, I felt ashamed and embarrassed that my profession was treating a section of society in that way. And I think what really hit me was that, that there were young people being affected by this as well. And I, I, I was just, like I say, staggered astounded, disappointed, shocked. I couldn’t believe it. It was about 2016. So it was the time that the women in the equalities report came out and they pulled no punches. You know, they stated very clearly that the NHS is letting down trans people. And I was like, whoa, you know, that’s quite a statement to be making people don’t criticize. Um, the UK NHS that’s bold. So Gender GP was born. It bought, it, came from a little one page website and it, it developed into I’ll put everything here that I learn everything here that people want to know, and I will answer your questions and I will try and help you.

And before long people were like, okay, that’s really interesting, but hang on a minute, aren’t you a doctor? Um, could you like help me medically? And I was like, well, I guess I can. Why not? You know, I am a doctor. I have the power to assess, to diagnose, to evaluate, to create management plans, to prescribe, to monitor. That’s what doctors do. And I was like, well, why not? You’re a person you need help. You can’t get it. I will help you. That’s what doctors do. Maybe that was naive. But I thought that that was the right thing to do, to help alleviate suffering and to help the trans people that I was hearing from to be able to live their lives better. And then I remember at the end of 2016, the trustee from GIRES trustees from GIRES, Bernard and Terry Reed who have become a great friends, sadly, Terry Reed has recently passed and my thought go to Bernard, but they contacted me and said, Helen, we’d like to meet you.

And I was like, oh, goodness gracious to me. I felt a bit scared. Actually. I was like, you know, this is a big charity, um, running for a very long time and they wanted to meet me. So anyway, my husband and I, Mike went to London and we had tea, um, in a hotel with Terry and Bernard, they told, told me ever such a lot. They told me a lot about the way that GIRES had been set up out of a similar kind of thing. Um, their daughter had faced discrimination in the workplace. And so the need was there for education, for law, for policy, and that’s how GIRES was created. And then they told me as well of, of the difficulties that some other doctors had faced when they had tried to help trans people. They told me about two doctors. One was called Richard Curtis, and one was called Russell Reed.

And how the doctors on the NHS had put in complaints about them to the GMC, which is the, the body that regulates doctors and tried to have them stopped working. And they said, Helen, you need to be careful because the same doctors will do the same to you. And I said, Bernard, Terry, don’t worry. I said, I’m safe. I’m not doing anything wrong. I am helping people. That is what doctors do you help people, but that’s what we pledge to do. And they said, but just be careful. And I said, Bernard and Terry, I’m always careful, but thank you for your advice. And we got the train home. And I remember so clearly that we got home and on my step was that envelope that every doctor, dreads, it’s the most awful feeling in the world because you can see that it’s from the GMC and you can see that it’s not a normal envelope.

It’s not the, your direct debit’s failed. And you haven’t paid your, your fees envelope. Uh, it’s not the newsletter envelope. It’s a big pack envelope. And I knew what it was that feeling of fear of terror was enormous. So I opened it up and there was several complaints in there. There was two complaints from Dr. Loma, one of the consultants who works at the London gender clinic as chairing cross as it was then. And he also has a private practice. And there was a complaint from, uh, I don’t know, colleague, friend of his, I don’t know, associate, he’s actually a trans guy who runs a trans charity. Um Alec Rook and they had, had taken it upon themselves to write separately to the GMC, um, about me raising concerns. So they didn’t come to me. I mean, I couldn’t have been more accessible in the trans world.

My website, the email address was at that time was doctor@gendergp.co.UK, which was the site at the time. There’s no point emailing that, by the way, it doesn’t work anymore. I couldn’t have been more accessible. And I’m think thinking to myself, why wouldn’t these colleagues of mine who work in the same field that I’m working? Why wouldn’t they contact me first? Why would they simply just write to my regulatory body and say that we have concerns? And those concerns were so, I don’t know. So nebulous just, you know, she seems to be doing this and she seems to be doing that. And I’m not sure whether she’s qualified and we are sure whether it’s safe or not. And she seems to be casting her net widely. And she seems to be, you know, shouting her words loudly. Um, and it’s like, well, I don’t really see what the problem with that is.

And actually luckily nor did the GMC, they didn’t take very much action on those. They investigated the Alec Rook one for a little while and then came to the, a conclusion that nothing was wrong. But what happened as a result of it was that every time you get an under investigation by the GMC, the GMC tell everybody else. And so they told my employers at the time, my NHS GP employers, and it’s always a bit, there’s no smoke without fire. You know, why would the GMC get involved with the doctor if there wasn’t something wrong? And so, you know, it started a kind of radar on Helen Webberley, which I then learned later was gonna cause me quite a lot of difficulty. The next step was that because the radar had been opened, the CQC is, is an organization who regulates services in England.

And the healthcare inspector Wales is a body that regulates services in Wales. And my employers had written to both of those saying, I can see that Helen’s got a website. Is she registered? And so I didn’t actually know at the time I had to be registered bit naive of me. I know. And so they both wrote me and said, hang on a minute. If you’re doing that, you need to be registered. And I was like, oh God, sorry. Yeah, no problem. I will do it straight away. It turns out that because I’m not in England, I didn’t need to be with CQC, but HIW was like, no problem. And they were like, no problem. And so there was discussion back and forth, like, should I register my website or my company or me, or there’s quite a lot of discussions. A couple of applications went in as, as that registration process was happening.

Professor Butler from GIZ wrote again, decided that he would add his concerns to the mix. Without speaking to me, he wrote to the GMC and said, we’ve got a doctor here who’s helping children. And he made a specific complaint about one of the young people that I was treating, or that I had treated. And the issues that he said were very serious. He implied that I had seriously harmed this young person, actually, that didn’t turn out to be true, but that’s not for me to evaluate. So, you know, when the GMC received yet another complaint of the same vein from another eminent person within the NHS, of course, there are alarm bells have got to ring again. So I had the same pack through the door, which I was getting a bit used to by now. And this time it looks serious. A young person might have been harmed.

And then at the same time, my LHB, which is my NHS employee, is because they heard, I was under investigation. Again, they themselves wrote to the GMC and said, we are worried about this doctor because she’s under investigation. And so the GMC added that to the pack. And I’m like, well, hang on a minute. That’s not very fair because you put me under investigation and then you tell my health board, and then they write to you and say, we are very worried about this doctor because she’s under investigation. I like, okay, nevermind. So, and at the same time, they, they both wrote to the healthcare inspector Wales who at that time had been very willing to register me. And then the healthcare inspector Wales said, okay, well, hang on a minute. She’s under investigation. My health board suspended me and said, you’re not gonna work as a GP anymore while, while all this is going on.

And so the healthcare inspector Wales said, well, well, we’re not registering you then. And, and they canceled my registration. And then they wrote to the GMC and said, she’s operating without a license. And I’m like, whoa, can this get any worse? And it was like this vortex of three big bodies talking about me, all kind of getting completely and utterly in a whirlwind. And I was just a tiny, the spec of dust in the middle of this vortex caught up in it. It was just horrendous. So in the same month, I was invited to a, a, a panel in front of the GMC who stopped me from working with trans people. Well, actually, that’s not quite true. They said I could work with trans people if I had a supervisor, but my supervisor had to be approved by the doctor who had just suspended me from being a GP.

And that doctor just kept saying, no, I’m not approving it. So basically I couldn’t work with trans people. I couldn’t work as a GP. And then the HIW wouldn’t register my service and said, your service has to close. And I was like, I can’t close. I’ve got a thousand people. I’m looking after I can’t, what am I gonna do with them all? And they just said, oh, the NHS will look after them. And I’m like, you’re missing the point because the point is that the NHS isn’t looking after these people, but nobody would listen. I don’t think I’ve ever faced three more white washed closed doors in my life. Nobody would listen to me. And with the help of Abby who works with Gender GP, we called on the support of the trans people. We were saying, look, Helen’s not being listened to, can you guys support?

Can you help? And the letters of support came flooding in. I would be like, right. The GMC will definitely listen to the patients because the GMC is all about the patient. Every single letter was ignored. They wrote to my health board, but those letters were ignored. They wrote to the HIW and said, please don’t close her down because where will we go? And it was ignored. It was hideous. You know, I a really strong doer type person. I’m a solution focused person. I’m a, let’s talk about this. Let’s slash it out. Let’s find a solution. I’ll show you the evidence. I’ll show you the hurt versus the, the good that I am doing. And not one person would listen. They also suspended me for 18 months. And I thought, God, 18 months is such a long time. This was May, 2017. And I just thought, that’s such a long time.

However, am I gonna manage, not working for 18 months? And I thought, I’ll, I’ll just write it all down. I’ll write the evidence. I’ll show you. I’ll show them. They won’t listen to me, but they’ll read my letters. So I wrote it. So clearly I showed them how the young person that was supposed to have been harmed wasn’t harmed. And he was doing really well. I showed them the letters. I showed them the harm that was happening on the NHS. I, I, I showed them. I showed them everything and they filed it. They said, thank you. And they just filed it. And I, I just, just have never been so unheard in all my life. And then what’s more is that patients were going to their GP and saying, I found uh I found this thing called Gender GP. And it’s so cool. And it’s run by this person called Dr. Webberley and she’s helping me, can you help? And they were like, no, what we’ll do is we’ll ring the hospital and see. And so when they used to ring the, the gender clinic, um, either the young persons or the adult gender clinic, the doctors there would say no, no, no, no. That doctor Webberley she’s under investigation. No, no, no, no, no. That Dr. Webberley being closed down. No, no, no. She’s operating without a license. No, no, no, no. And worse. You might want to add your doctor. You might want to add your complaints to the GMC if you want to. So the GMC were then receiving more and more complaints, not from patients, not from people who have been helped, but from concerned doctors doing a good thing are patients been to see us. And, and it seems that the doctor’s under investigation. And so maybe you want to do something about, and I’m like, I know I’m an under investigation.

It’s not fair, but, and it just kept continuing. And then the GMC, they, one day they read something in the guardian, there was a, an in article in the guardian about a non-binary person. And it had my name at the bottom. And that’s where I got a letter the next day saying, we’ve added this to your investigation. And I’m like, all right, so, okay. So now you just read something in the new newspapers and you just add it to my investigation. And then there was like, and I’d, I wasn’t allowed to work by this time. But my husband Mike had continued the running the service for us. And then his complaints, he got complaints. Everyone was saying, well, Dr. Webberley, he can’t do it. He can’t be qualified. He can’t be trained to do it. And so they would write to the GMC and say, he’s doing it now.

And then they would add that to my investigation. And my investigation pack was just like filling up like a, I don’t know, it was huge and not one person would listen to me, not one, not one. And that lasted for the whole of 2000 in 18. And by the end of 2018, I had been not just suspended from being a GP, but, um, nationally disqualified. So I can’t be an NHS GP any longer, even after all this is over, I can’t return to being a GP without a big application process. I was completely suspended by the GMC in all of my work. So I couldn’t have no income and not allowed to do my profession. And the HIW healthcare inspector Wales, when at the beginning, they had worked with me to register my service for trans people. They said, okay, you didn’t stop.

Like we told you to, um, you didn’t close down Gender GP and so will convict you. So they took me to court and convicted me of running a service. And again, you know, I had tried to speak to them. I had tried to speak to their medical advisor to explain that if I shut the doors on those patients, people would die. And they were like, no, we’re not. We don’t want you to talk to our medical advisor. We don’t want to listen to you. We don’t want to talk to you. By the end of 2018, I was completely suspended, nationally disqualified. And I had a criminal conviction I had and how I coped actually. I dunno how I coped. I don’t, I don’t, I think it’s a difficult thing for humans to have that much pressure. The so 2018 was a very, very difficult time.

The panel is due to sit for 55 days to sift through all the other things that the GMC kind of found along the way <laugh> to add the investigation pack, to support their case, that I’m not fit to be a doctor and 55 days it’s due for. And I think it’s gonna be pretty harrowing and pretty hideous, but I’ve got a nice legal team who I feel very confident with. And I remember when I was explaining it to them at the beginning, you know, it can go either way, Marianne, you know that how how’s it gonna go? You know, what’s, you know, this doc just been treating young people and they just understood it. And I, I remember I was in a conference with my council right at the beginning, and I text my husband. He was in another room. I’m like, they understand it, Mike, they get it.

They understand it. And I was, I think I was almost in tears at the thought that actually I’ve got someone who understands it now. Um, I just, just amazing. So I feel very comfort and confident that they will get the right, be able to present the right story on my behalf. And at last, my voice will be heard along with the voices of those people who’ve written in and supported. And along with the voices of the experts on both sides and also the voices of the people who raise concerns. And then the panel will, will independently decide whether what I did was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do. And I think mostly it sets a very big precedence for the future. Can a doctor like me learn the skills to help trans people? I still resolutely believe that that is the case, but it’s not for me to decide. So there you go, without too many tears of emotion, that’s my story. Um, and it’s been hell, but I’m looking forward to hopefully the end of it. <laugh> there you go.

Marianne:
One way or the other that was almost without taking a breath there, Helen, like, I can tell, just listening to your talk there, how you’ve lived and breathed this. And as an observer, somebody that’s been involved with Gender GP and yourself personally, for the last five or six years, you know, I’ve seen it unfold and think as practitioners within Gender GP, we kind of, I don’t wanna say disassociate from it, but we, and you’ve been brilliant actually, and not burdening us with this, but when, you know, when I hear you talking like that, you know, I think, oh my God, I just won’t give you a hug. I’m not going <laugh>. And it makes me emotional to hear it like that. I think the, a difficulty that I’m, I’m struggling to get my head around. I’m pretty sure anybody listening to this, that you’re talking very generically, somebody’s put a complaint in saying you’ve done bad things.

And, and as somebody who works in Gender GP, I don’t see anything bad that we could have done. It feels like this is gonna be, you know, detail. It’s gonna be semantics. It’s gonna be, if it’s taken this long to investigate, it can’t be that bad. That’s an observer, you know, obviously you’ll know more than I do, but how much is this? Do you believe is being driven by the prejudice of the organizations involved? So when we talk about the GMC, you know, we saw in 2019, 2020, were they were bragging that they’d had some diversity training and they didn’t realize how difficult it was for trans people. Yet they sit in judgment of a doctor that it is more embedded within trans community than anybody that’s gonna be in that court. I know you spoke about professional, who’s a trans person themselves. I don’t think that qualifies them to know our patients. I don’t claim to know the patients of the GA GICs. So I just wonder how much is this just coming from a very, uh, position that I don’t know they’ve made all these big claims. So now they’ve gotta kind of prove that rather than what’s right for trans people.

Helen:
I honestly really think that, and you’re right. Say if I’ve given the wrong medicine or the wrong dose, or I’d done the wrong operation or not done a blood test, that meant that’s had been harmed it, would’ve been really easy to investigate and see the proof of that. And then just say, right, we need, you know, we need a panel to see whether this doctor’s safe or not, but the fact it’s gone on for nearly five years, you know, 2016 was the first, the end of 2016 was the first one, that’s nearly five years. And they still, if you look at the list of allegations, which is live on, on their website, it’s really, um, tricky. They’re really nebulous. Uh, you know, and I, I kind of think that I’m on trial for the whole of trans healthcare because it’s on trial every day. Isn’t it in the media like I, in, in medical journals, in, in newspapers, on Twitter, the discussion, the debate about trans healthcare is there. And it, it feels to me like I am on trial for that. And the deciding factor is not that Helen Webberley gave good care, but whether doctors should provide this care, I feel that that’s a bit unfair really, but on the other. And if we have a fair hearing and the outcome is that I didn’t do anything wrong as a doctor, then I think that the outcome will be good. And then that will help doctors to provide this care for trans people, which is really important.

Marianne:
That’s the, um, at the heart of this as well, isn’t it, it’s it’s about who is fit to help trans people. And you know, me and you have spoke at length, uh, on podcasts and in private about, you know, Vicky, my wife goes, the doctor comes back with a prescription for HRT. I go and get put on a two year waiting list and then have to have 12 months of analysis. You know, I do, um, surgery rules for, you know, uh, women who are in their forties, who haven’t, you know, developed, you know, the chest that they would like and want augmentation, and they need to have a psychiatric report to support them having yet any teenage girl could walk into a clinic and get, if we want to talk about in this is where it shines a light. And actually you, you talked about that vortex, you’ve got caught up in this social change that, you know, a fever pitch at the moment.

And, and part of me just kind of worries that, how can we have a fair trial? You, you know, who, who are they really gonna be listening to? The, the old guard who believed that this is still a mental health issue. Let’s not kid ourselves, you know, baggies had a whole conference on how in the UK, can we make gender dysphoria mental health issue again, because the world health organization have downgraded it and said that gender dysphoria is not mental health, uh, issue, uh, WPATH no longer consider it a mental health issue. Uh, yet the old guard, the people making the complaints about you are desperate to hold onto that gate keeping and, and a self serving. So how can we be certain of a fair trial?

Helen:
I don’t know. I’m scared about that because I had to go to, to a previous tribunal about the being removed as an NHS GP. And I don’t know what it was, but I walked in there and I thought that the atmosphere in that room was hideous. And I just thought, I don’t know if I’m gonna get a fair hearing here and I don’t think I did. And you know, how do you say that? How do you say, I don’t think I had a fair hearing without sounding like, just, oh, that’s not fair kind of person. And the same at the reference panel that removed me. I think sometimes, you know, that transgender word, you bring it in. And the, the, the scene changes. Um, and also, I mean, not so not actually so much with the conviction with healthcare inspector Wales, because that was true.

You know, I had run a service and I didn’t, I didn’t close it when they told me to, because I didn’t want people to come to harm. So I ran an unregistered service and that’s against the law. They didn’t help me to try and get registered. And I wonder how much that, that transgender under word influences it. And so I am scared and I’m scared of the tribunal panel. How do I know what they feel? Because everyone’s read about this in the newspapers, everyone will have their own feelings. And how do I, a hundred percent know that they’re not the, the panel that will have feelings about this. And I know professionally that everybody is supposed to put those feeling aside because you’re supposed to look at the facts and not emotions, but I, I am a bit scared about that, but I’ll let you know, <laugh>, you know, on the 26th of July, I hope so.

And also, how do you prepare for that? How do you say, please, can you give me a fair hearing? Because everyone will say, of course, you’re gonna get a fair hearing. However, I don’t think that the last five years have been particularly fair for me. So, you know, my, my fairness barometer is a little bit low at the moment, but then if you say that people just think that you’re just, you know, not respecting regulation, not respecting the rules. And I’m like, I do respect the rules, but I just wish that you could show me that you’re acting fairly, cause I don’t think you are, but I dunno. We’ll see,

Marianne:
We talk about guidelines and protocols all time. And from what you’ve said, you know, you looked for the rules, you looked for the training and these, these insufficient training. That’s not your fault. It’s not the fault of any other doctor. I, I don’t know who to blame that maybe the NHS, maybe the GMC you know, and I think that’s why trans is so toxic because actually it shows them up for their inadequacy. We’ve only got to look at the trial, the case that went on in December, the Kibbel case, you know, that the actual GIC got slaughtered in court kids, the very people that are complaining about you, but also, uh, the, the CQC, you know, absolutely hammer them. This is not unique to, uh, Helen Webberley, it’s actually all transgender services, I think are under pressure. Our conversation flows onto when we talk about the NHS and clinicians on one hand, you, we want to be protective because people are good at heart. And you know, nobody becomes a doctor because they want to cause harm. But the truth of the matter is that, you know, it does vary clinician to clinician and the fact that this media frenzy around transgender healthcare, how can any clinician work objectively in that environment actually coming back to you, Helen, you exemplify that. Cause somehow you found a way to see for what it was and sadly, without fear of your own reputation or career, how do other clinicians deal with that?

Helen:
You made some really good points there. And going back to the training, one of the allegations against me is that I should have known that I wasn’t qualified to provide care for young people. On the other hand, though, what qualifications or what training should I have had in order to do this? Where is it? And who’s responsible for that? I mean, the GMC themselves are responsible for setting standards of care and standards of education in the UK. So have they set standards for medical students, for post-graduates for doctors, for young doctors, for GPs, have they set standards of education? I haven’t seen any who’s responsible for training GPs, training, medical students, training, um, hospital consultants and, and providing the training materials and actually the GICs themselves. So the, so the people who put those complaints in about me, one of the duties of a doctor is teaching.

So where is the teaching that’s gone on from these GICs over the last 10 years when they’ve been in operation, why haven’t they put out training materials that I now am accused of not undertaking, cause they’re not there. So frustrating and you’re completely right. Any doctor who is even thinking about helping their trans patient, I guess gonna look at what happened to me and go no way, just not worth them. And I’ve seen patients come through saying, you know, my GP says that they’d love to help, but they just can’t, they’re just too scared. They don’t want to, their insurance is say, don’t do it. You know, they’re scared for their own regulatory safety. And it’s like, yeah, but who’s scared for the patient’s safety. That’s who we should be scared for. I don’t understand it. And also some people will say that if I had my time again, would I have done this?

If I had listened to Bernard and Terry Reed and said to my husband, listen, Mike, we need to get out of here. This is dangerous territory. If I had that time again, would I? I just think no, because the support I have had the number of people who have said, Helen, you have saved my life. You have saved my child’s life. You, you can never undo that, that that reward has got to be worth the, the pain that I’ve been through the last five years. And there must be other doctors out there. Who would you equally feel that that was important? So I just hope that, that this is now reflected in a, a good outcome so that doctors can feel peaceful and confident about helping their trans patients. That’s what we need.

Marianne:
There’s a little part. We just thinking whatever the outcome is, hell and it’d be devastating if it doesn’t go in favor for you. But I think one outcome that it’s got to come out of this is there’s gotta be a change in transgender healthcare that actually, if nothing else, there should be a spotlight, whether we will get the press coverage or not. I say we, the trans community, uh, whether we’ll get the press coverage or not, we can’t say, but something’s gotta come out of this because it has gotta change me. And you have spoken to people around the world, haven’t we, and everybody is trying to play catch up with this. And maybe, you know, the outcome here is that you were a victim of the inadequacies of the medical profession. And maybe that’s one argument on whether the outcomes good or bad, but we’ve gotta recognize an inadequacy in transgender healthcare of the, uh, the medical profession. And that hopefully the change will be that, that at the very least we’ll get out of it is that that will change in the right

Helen:
Direction. It’s funny. Actually, if you look back over the last five years while I’ve been under this investigation, because it’s very important to present to the panel, what was going on at the time, you can’t compare me with current standards. Like if there was a training course, now they couldn’t say, well, you didn’t do it because I’m like, well, it wasn’t there at the time in 2017, isn’t there. So you can’t hold me to account for that. So it’s interesting that we have to look at what was happening at the time. So which was early 2017 and it was actually an easier place. Then it’s really noticeable how much worse, uh, opinion and division of opinion and difficulty for trans people. So I said at the beginning that the women in the qualities commission in 2016 said that the NHS was failing trans people. And actually it’s just got worse.

It’s frightening. So, I mean, every day I think to myself, why am I doing this? Because actually, you know, the, the legal fees for this for me are very expensive, hideously expensive. And I think to myself, why am I doing this is the summer holidays. I’ve got to be with my kids. I, what 55 days of a hideous trial, why am I doing it? What’s the point? Why do I want to do it? And I’m just hoping for that fair outcome, but it might not be, it might be another slam dunk, you know, just no way should a, a doctor like Helen be helping trans youth, which is what this is all about. It could be just another slam for the UK, but whatever I think Gender GP will continue. And I think, you know, the service that I founded is now a global international organization, which has different regulatory impact away from the UK.

And that has allowed it to be more international. It has allowed it to continue with international rules rather than the UK rules and the international guidelines, which are the ones we’ve used all along. Have always been so much more affirmative than the UK guidelines of not that there are any, or the NHS protocol really, which is what we spoke to adhere to in the UK apparently. So I’m very pleased that Gender GP, whatever continue. And I will, whether I continue with Gender GP as an advocate, which is what I’ve been for the last five years, or whether I can come back as a doctor is a little bit by the by I’d love to come back as a doctor, but if not, I will definitely be continuing my advocacy work, my education and my support for better healthcare for trans people. But I just can’t help thinking it would be a better outcome for the UK for all of us. If the panel have a listen to the voices that really matter, you know, the voices of trans people who actually are on the receiving end of healthcare, and listen to what they’ve got to say, that’s who we need to listen to.

Marianne:
I can’t help, but feel that a good outcome is gonna be a massive step for all trans people in this country. Do you know, I also know that not everybody whose trans will, uh, advocate for Gender GP, we are a mixed breed from all backgrounds, all political persuasions, all have a different perspective on what transgender healthcare should be. And one of the things we advocate for is choice and do, you know, a good outcome would be massive for the whole transgender community that we get given that choice we’re not advocating. I don’t think you would advocate Helen, that everybody that works at the GIC is getting it wrong. That there are people that need that level of intervention. There are some people that do need, you know, a clinical psychology or a psychiatrist and filtering them out is really important and good training within primary care, but not everybody does. And some people just the primary care. So hopefully a good outcome would actually just promote that, that change, that, that, that change of thinking. I wanted to just ask something here as well, Helen, cause I think it’s really important. I, I do as a trans person and if I was outside of Gender GP, before you came into transgender healthcare, what was your record as a doctor? Like how would you summarize that?

Helen:
<laugh>, that’s a really interesting question. I wonder whether you kinda know the answer, I’m the kind of doctor that doesn’t just say, if you say so then I shall do that. Uh, or if that’s what it says then yes, that’s right. Always been someone who, who asks questions and challenges. And if I’ve ever seen anything that I think is unfair or needs to be thought of differently, approached differently, I’ve never been at somebody who hasn’t been scared to say so, and it’s got me into little bits of trouble along the way, n-nothing ever serious, but you know, sometimes the big guys don’t want to be told that by the junior girl kind of thing. But in terms of my medical record, I had an unfortunate complaint. Um, I had a young patient who had had an alcohol problem who had unfortunately died and her brother put a complaint in against me, which was investigated. And I, and I certainly hadn’t done anything wrong as a doctor. I’d been incredibly supportive of her. So that, but that was the only serious complaint. I’ve been someone that challenges and asks lots and lots of questions as to why, why we do that. That’s my nature. <laugh>

Marianne:
Actually nothing changes in, uh, medicine, if it isn’t challenged either. You know, one of the things I can say with counseling is that, you know, there are lots of different models of counseling, but they’re there to be criticized and they’re there to be utilized accordingly and changed accordingly. And the same surely has gotta be for the medical profession and that actually transgender healthcare needed a shake up. And whether it came from Helen Weberley or another, it was gonna take somebody with tenacity and actually, you know, who was brave enough to stand up to it. And you just happened to be that person. You said something else in the middle of all of that, which I think is really important that the guy from a above and this junior girl doctor, you know, is that just you, or do you think that that’s genuinely a problem because a lot of the people that make complaints all seem to be men,

Helen:
I mean, it’s a massive accusation that I wouldn’t want to, to own at the moment, but I think, you know, there is inequality in medicine between consultants professor and they are in a majority male, but that might be coincidental and GPs. And there’s a higher proportion of females in, in general practice. And, you know, there was always a laugh at medical school. Oh, you’re just gonna be a GP are you kind of thing? And it, there is a hierarchical difference. And, you know, in the news there’s been a lot about the other minority groups in medicine, so racial minority and religious minority, and whether there’s still some discrimination there. So, you know, difficult one. And I’m not certainly not going to say that openly that I accuse anybody of discrimination against me because of my gender or because of my occupation, but exist out there. I think it probably does a little bit.

Marianne:
It is so ingrained in social change. I think what transgender, uh, has done has brought the medical profession into the center of social change. I think aids probably was the last crisis deface and they got that completely wrong. And that had to change once we get government and medical and I don’t know charities, and this whole cacophony of sound around a particular subject, generally the right outcome comes out. We have to force change. And it just feels like we’re at that maybe the medical profession needed a slap in the face. I’m just wondering if there’s gonna be any legislative law that’s known as Helen’s law. That’s <laugh>

Helen:
I dunno. That would be, um, well that would be, that would be amazing. That would be amazing. Well, thanks for listening Marianne. Uh, and I hope that other people out there who’ve listened to my story will take it as, as you wish, you know, think what you wish, but I hope that the outcome is good for me. I hope that the outcome is good because I think that that will be good for trans people. And I think that the unanswered question is if I hadn’t helped these trans people, if I had closed the door on the clinic and said, sorry, everybody were closed because we didn’t didn’t achieve registration. What would’ve happened then. And I think, you know, it’s, it’s easy to, to, to speculate about what can happen. If you treat someone who’s wrongly or you’re not registered, or you might not be doing it right. But actually hang on a minute, what would’ve happened to the people who didn’t have the care that I gave, um, or that I, and that’s a really important question.

Marianne:
We’ve gotta remember as well. I say this all the time that this isn’t just about saving people’s lives. So arguably we could argue that you, uh, not continuing, would’ve put a lot of people’s lives at risk, but actually it’s the lives we’ve created. And the one thing I get to see the privilege that I, I guess see probably more so than most at Gender GP, I actually get to witness the difference in people’s lives. Cause I get to speak to them well into their treatment. And I think that should not be ignored, that if we’re talking about putting people at risk, then we know we’re not putting people at risk because we can evidence it and we get to speak to them. And I think that’s really important that we, we don’t save lives. We make lives in many cases. And if we weren’t here, there’s a lot of people whose lives would be on hold now and, and will be a lot worse because we didn’t exist. So keeping going out, I want to thank you as a member of the trans community for that

Helen:
As always Marianne, lovely to talk to you, thank you for listening. And it actually has honestly been a professional pleasure working with trans community. And although it’s been difficult, not a day’s gone by where I’ve regretted it. So I shall keep you all informed about how things go. Bear with me. The beginning bit will be tricky when they, when they lay it all out the case open against me and there’d be people there tweeting it and saying how awful it is. Bear through the first few days when they say they’re bad stuff about me and get to the good days where I get a chance to say it, the real truth. And we’ll see what the outcome is. So I should keep you informed and as always, thank you, Marianne. <laugh> thank you so much for listening. I really hope you’ve enjoyed our program today.

 

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