Clinic consultation

Abergavenny doctor who ran transgender clinic is competent but failed in some follow-up care, court hears

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Dr. Helen Webberley of GenderGP Trans Healthcare Private Clinic. (Photo by Helen Webberley/Facebook)

An Abergavenny doctor who ran an online clinic for transgender children was competent to provide treatment but failed to provide follow-up care, a medical tribunal has found.

Dr Helen Webberley, founder of the GenderGP website, was accused of failing to provide good clinical care in 2016 to three patients, aged 11, 12 and 17, who were transitioning from female to male.

But a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel found that 83 of the allegations made by the General Medical Council (GMC) against the doctor were unproven.

In a determination of the facts, issued on Friday, the panel found that 36 allegations, including failing to provide adequate follow-up care to a 12-year-old child who was prescribed testosterone, had been proven.

The panel did not find testosterone to be inappropriate for use in children of this age.

The court found that at the time of the allegations, transgender health care was “an evolving medical discipline” and expert opinions were divided.

Presiding judge Angus Macpherson said: ‘The tribunal believes that the reluctance of the Endocrine Society and others to take informed views on transgenderism is symptomatic of the tendency for all professions to be slow to move with the weather.

“This inertia toward medical attitudes toward transgender reflects past attitudes toward homosexuality, which was classified by the APA as a mental illness until the 1973 edition of their DMS.”

Mr Macpherson said Dr Webberley was perhaps seen as “at the forefront” of an evolving approach to transgender health care.

He said at the time of the allegations there was ‘tremendous pressure’ on the NHS England Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) and some users of the service were ‘left in a state of despair’ , so it was “not surprising” that some patients sought out Dr. Webberley as an alternative.

Hearing

The court, which began hearing evidence in July last year, received emails from Patient A’s mother after her testosterone prescription ran out in which she said she tried to contact Dr Webberley and received no response.

In later emails, she said the patient suffered from chronic depression.

The court concluded: “The correspondence quoted above between August 2016 and February 2017 demonstrates that, notwithstanding the anguish felt by Ms. A and patient A, Dr. psychosocial follow-up, nor in fact physical monitoring and laboratory tests.

“If she had instituted a review system from the start, she would not have been dependent on Patient A or her mother to order a review. If she wasn’t going to fix it herself, it was up to her to arrange for it to be provided by someone else.

She also concluded that she had breached an obligation to arrange follow-up consultations for patient B, aged 17, after having prescribed testosterone treatment.

Dr Webberley, from Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, Wales, was convicted in 2018 of running an independent medical agency without being registered.

A decision as to whether Dr. Webberley’s fitness to practice is impaired as a result of his misconduct or his conviction remains to be determined.

The hearing is expected to resume in June.


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