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Gender identity clinics across Scotland secretly use extreme guidelines from controversial trans group

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 27/10/2022 Daniel Sanderson
Sandyford Clinic’s gender identity service is ‘modelled and informed’ by WPATH guidelines according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - Mirrorpix © Mirrorpix Sandyford Clinic’s gender identity service is ‘modelled and informed’ by WPATH guidelines according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - Mirrorpix

Clinicians at Scottish gender clinics are following guidelines issued by a body that advocates sex-change surgery for children.

In a leaked recording, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Sandyford Clinic states explicitly that gender clinics are following advice issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), despite the NHS and Scottish Government denying this is the case.

WPATH presents itself as a global body of medical professionals but its critics believe it is little more than a lobbying group, set up to legitimise an extreme form of gender ideology. It believes people who identify as eunuchs should be able to receive castrations on the NHS. 

In its new guidelines, which were released in September, it calls for “eunuch” to be recognised as an official gender identity and for “surgical intervention” to be considered for those who “wish to eliminate masculine physical features”.

Its guidelines provide a link to a eunuch fetish website that contains graphic depictions of child abuse so extreme that when they were examined by NHS cyber security staff, they recommended it was reported to Police Scotland.

The guidelines also endorse use of breast binders and “genital tucking” for teenagers, despite health risks, and states that adolescents should be able to access sex change surgery, even if this is not supported by their parents. 

The Sandyford has been branded ‘Sturgeon’s Tavistock’ and has links with the scandal-hit English gender identity clinic - David Cheskin/PA © Provided by The Telegraph The Sandyford has been branded ‘Sturgeon’s Tavistock’ and has links with the scandal-hit English gender identity clinic - David Cheskin/PA

The senior clinician at the Sandyford, which runs Scotland’s only specialised gender identity clinic for children, claimed guidelines issued by WPATH were already being followed by gender clinics even when they were in draft form. 

Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said Sandyford’s gender identity service is “modelled and informed” by WPATH guidelines.

Trina Budge, a director at the For Women Scotland campaign group, repeated her call for the Sandyford, which has been branded “Sturgeon’s Tavistock” and has links with the scandal-hit English clinic, to be shut down.

“It is beyond irresponsible for Sandyford clinicians to have charged ahead with implementing WPATH’s new treatment guidelines,” she said. 

“The embedding of this widely discredited treatment protocol that actually reduces the age at which children can access dangerous and experimental drugs is the opposite to the carefully thought out and evidenced good practice being introduced in England.”

She added: “When senior NHS staff are still denying any connection with WPATH it is reprehensible that vulnerable children are caught in the crossfire of mismanagement and substandard care.”

Child castration and sexual abuse

Major concerns have been raised about the Sandyford after a senior clinician, in a presentation recorded by a whistleblower, suggested patients were being offered irreversible treatments after only basic mental health assessments. 

She acknowledged that a “robust evidence base” did not exist for its methods, but that staff saw their main role as to “get them [patients] on treatment.”

NHS National Services Scotland has previously attempted to distance itself from WPATH. 

In the summer, the health service apologised for a scandal in which a WPATH document, including a link to a website with graphic fictional depictions of child castration and sexual abuse, was uploaded to an NHS website.

A probe classified the blunder as a “category 1 event” - the most serious - with the “child abuse imagery” leading to a referral to Police Scotland, according to internal documents.

On June 23, the NHS said “it is incorrect to state that the gender clinics follow the WPATH guidance.” It insisted there were no plans for the updated WPATH guidelines, which were released in September, “to be incorporated or followed either”.

On September 28, asked whether the new guidelines would be adopted, the Scottish Government said: “No, NHS Scotland will not be adopting these guidelines.”

However, the senior clinician, in a private NHS webinar on June 17, said draft versions of the rules were already being followed in Scotland. 

NHS treatment protocol for trans patients

“We obviously adhere to clinical guidelines,” she said. “The WPATH are the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. They’re international guidelines that all the gender services adhere to.

“We all adhere to these guidelines, they are on version eight of their Standards of Care. So they’re not completely finalised yet but we are adhering to the draft chapters of each of the relevant service areas.”

Other documents show that trans activists from LGBT Youth Scotland, a charity that received almost £400,000 last year from the Scottish Government, have been lobbying behind the scenes for WPATH to be endorsed in a new NHS treatment protocol for trans patients.

When the final version of the guidelines were circulated within NHS Scotland, a doctor expressed concern that “notably chapter 9 with the eunuch reference... is still there, along with the web link”. 

NHS National Services Scotland has been approached for comment.

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