GenderGP statement in response to the Kiera Bell V Tavistock Case
The outcome of the judgement on the case brought against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust today (01.12.20) is confusing but our message to our patients and their loved ones is clear:
“We will continue to provide care to patients of all ages and involve them in the decision making process. We have always carried out capacity assessments and will continue to do so as part of our well-established Appraisal Pathway.
Having capacity to consent to treatment lies at the core of every medical intervention, whatever the condition being treated. Throughout history, young people have had to make difficult decisions about their health and wellbeing, and the UK understands that young people should be involved in every decision as much as possible.
While the judges in this case understand that we must take every step possible to ensure that young people have the capacity to understand what intervention means, we must still make sure the voice of that young person is heard.”
In the UK, the GMC has produced very clear guidance on assessing capacity in those under 18:
‘You can provide medical treatment to a child or young person with their consent if they are competent, or with the consent of a parent or the court.’
At GenderGP, we work on a model of informed consent and each and every young person who is prescribed puberty blockers and hormones has shown that they fully understand the effects of such treatment, given the knowledge and evidence available to them.
The medical evidence in favour of these interventions is clear, as are the effects of not having the intervention.
We do not deny treatment on the basis of age and our multidisciplinary team continually assesses the individual’s capacity to make decisions throughout their journey with GenderGP, based on all the information available to us.
The majority of patients and their families have clear capacity to make informed decisions on their care, however, if ever we need the court to assist us in that then we will follow the necessary steps.
Any medical intervention provided through GenderGP will continue. It is necessary, effective, life-changing and, in some cases, even life-saving.
If you would like to speak to a member of our team about this post or any other matter relating to you, or someone you support, please visit our Help Centre.