Children in Ireland as young as five are being send to Britain by the HSE to receive gender treatment.
According to reporting by the Sunday Independent HSE figures show that 234 children between the ages of 5 and 17 have been referred to the UK for gender treatment since 2011.
Numbers of children referred have increased dramatically for the last decade (with the exception of 2020 and 2021, when figures dipped due to the impact of the Covid pandemic). In 2018, there were 49 such referrals, and in 2019 there were 42.
€50,000 in taxpayer money was spent by the HSE on the exercise last year alone.
HSE spends €50,000 to send children to gender treatment clinics https://t.co/XCKtYjgytk
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) May 2, 2022
According to the figures, 13 children last year were sent to the controversial Tavistock and Portman NHS clinic in the UK.
In February of last year, the entire management board of the Tavistock Clinic’s Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS) for children was disbanded following “growing scrutiny and controversy.”
A report by British health regulators found that the clinic had consistently failed to record the consent of patients for the treatments provided. A review of a random sampling of patient records showed that only 30% of patients could be shown to have “a completed consent form and checklist for referral.”
Moreover, in the Bell v Tavistock court case, the clinic was harshly rebuked by judges for failing to ensure that children consented before undergoing potentially irreversible “experimental” medical treatments. It was found that the treatments in question could lead to “a loss of fertility” and “sexual function.”
Under the NHS regulations, youths with prolonged signs of gender dysphoria can be referred on to a hormone specialist, who may choose to prescribe hormone blockers that prevent the biological changes of puberty.
The NHS website explains:
Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.
Although GIDS advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be.
It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.
From the age of 16, teenagers who’ve been on hormone blockers for at least 12 months may be given cross-sex hormones, also known as gender-affirming hormones.
UK health secretary Sajid Javid has launched an inquiry into the Tavistock clinic, after a recent review by the former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK.
The review found that staff working at the clinic felt under pressure to take “an unquestioning affirmative approach” to the idea of a child transitioning to another gender, with other mental health considerations being “overshadowed.”
Professor Donal O’Shea is a consultant hormone specialist at UCD school of medicine.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, he claimed he believes hormone blockers are unsafe.
“This means very careful assessment is needed and great caution before doing anything irreversible,” he said.
“…Even this week, I saw a young person who felt if he had been given more time 10 years ago to explore his orientation and gender, he may have made different decisions.”