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The Tavistock

Inside the gender clinic

In a few months, the Tavistock – the only NHS clinic in England and Wales which treats children suffering from gender dysphoria – will close. This is the story of what happened.


The broom cupboard

Polly Carmichael became the director of the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock in 2009. “I remember our office was literally a room that had probably been a broom cupboard at one stage”, she recalls. But the decision in 2011 to start offering puberty blockers to people under the of 16, and in 2016 to widen the professionals who could refer a child to GIDS had a major impact. The numbers of people on the waiting list ticked inexorably up, until the clinic felt it could barely cope