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Gender clinic doctor accused of failing to provide good care to three child patients.

Byline: IAN LEONARD newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

ADOCTOR who ran an unlicensed gender identity clinic (GIC) has appeared at a medical tribunal accused of failing to provide good clinical care to three child patients.

Dr Helen Webberley, who founded online clinic GenderGP with her husband Dr Michael Webberley, is also accused of prescribing inappropriately to two other patients.

The 52-year-old from Abergavenny, who is currently barred from practising, appeared yesterday via videolink at a Medical Practitioners Service (MPTS) fitness-to-practise hearing in Manchester.

The charges relate to the period March 2016 to November 2016 when Dr Webberley was a director of GenderGP. During legal arguments, her QC Ian Stern said the GMC's case had been ongoing for four-and-a-half years and the stress would have impacted any doctor's professional and personal life and health.

He sought to include in evidence testimonials in support of Dr Webberley, saying: "The allegation is that she was acting outside her competence or should have known she was acting outside her competence."

Mr Stern said the testimonials - or "journey records" - showed how patients had contacted her for help to get treatment, had informed her in terms of her level of competence and demonstrated her approach with patients.

He said the idea that the defence could obtain statements from these individuals in 2021 was "frankly ludicrous". The testimonials, he added, had been submitted by transgender organisations including the charity Mermaids and Terry Reed, who, along with her husband Bernard, worked as a trustee for the charity Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), which was set up following their trans daughter's successful industrial tribunal case against her former employers.

But Simon Jackson QC, from the GMC, argued that the testimonials should not be admissible because they were "mainly hearsay" and the defence had not checked whether the authors had given permission for them to be used at the tribunal.

The MPTS panel will decide if the documents can be admitted in evidence. Dr Webberley is also accused of attempting to avoid regulations after she was convicted in October 2018 for illegally running GenderGP and treating 1,600 transgender patients and gender dysphoric children from her home in Wales.

A court heard she gave gave sexchange hormones to children as young as 12 after the youngsters were denied treatment on the NHS.

A judge said there was a "clear refusal to follow the law" while regulator Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) said she posed a risk to patient safety.

Another allegation concerns an unannounced CQC inspection of Dr Matt Limited where Dr Webberley was the safeguarding lead and was unaware of, and had never seen, the safeguarding policy.

And she's accused of acting dishonestly in relation to information she provided to the GMC and the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and by failing to provide relevant information to a pharmacy.

Dr Webberley and her husband, who was suspended in May 2019, moved online GenderGP to Malaga in Spain in May 2019.

But it's now owned by Hong-Kong based Harland International Ltd and she works only in non-medical advocacy role.

Its protocol - which follows international guidelines - means drugs prescribed by doctors in Europe can be dispensed in the UK, allowing young people to bypass some NHS safeguards and waiting lists.

But the treatment of young patients, which also includes the use of puberty blockers, has proved controversial. The Tavistock and Portman NHS trust, which runs NHS England's only gender identity development service for children, is challenging a landmark High Court court ruling last year that children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be mature enough to give informed consent to be prescribed puberty-blocking drugs.

The case was brought by Keira

Bell, a 24-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers when she was 16 before detransitioning, and the mother of teenage autistic girl.

As a result of the decision, the Tavistock suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s.

But lawyers for the trust told the Court Appeal in June that the ruling meant that children with gender dysphoria were "treated differently from others in their age group seeking medical treatment".

A decision on the trust's appeal has yet to be made.

The hearing continues.
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Author:IAN LEONARD newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 27, 2021
Words:698
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