A former Scottish Green Party leader and a prominent SNP MP have added their voices to those demanding that NHS Scotland’s gender clinic for children be closed.

In a joint letter, Robin Harper OBE and Joanna Cherry QC MP called on the Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director to shut the Sandyford Young People’s Clinic as a matter of urgency.

Their letter follows the announcement that the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in England will close next spring, after the independent Cass Review’s interim report found it was not a “safe or viable long-term option”.

‘Experimental treatment’

Harper and Cherry said the Cass Review makes it clear that the current clinical model being followed at Sandyford puts children and young people “at significant risk”.

Consequently, they argued, “we are calling on you to follow NHS England and announce its closure and replacement with local services which will take a more holistic approach”.

The letter concluded: “Children expressing distress about their sex must be treated like any other children with psychological problems and offered compassionate and appropriate services which properly address all their needs.”

Earlier this month, former Tavistock clinician Dr David Bell and campaign group For Women Scotland also said the clinic should be closed.

Tavistock

Last week, the Law firm Pogust Goodhead announced its intention to pursue a group legal action against the Tavistock.

It hopes for 1,000 clients to join the case and plans to submit papers to the High Court within the next six months.

In a further development, doctors in the Republic of Ireland have expressed shock that the country’s Health Service Executive is still referring children from Ireland to GIDS.

Psychiatrist Dr Paul Moran, who works with the National Gender Service, told The Times that he had raised concerns for years about the inadequate assessments made by the London-based clinic.