- Dr Mike Webberley fourth doctor to be restricted from treating gender variant patients
- GMC knew that restricting highly experienced doctor would leave 1600 patients at risk of sudden withdrawal of treatment
- GenderGP has taken the necessary step of moving its working hub outside of the UK
- Trans community and its allies are urged to sign the petition calling for better interim care
May 16th, 2019: Having already been criticised in its duty of care to the trans community by The Women and Equality Committee in 2016 , the GMC has once again failed to protect the safety of trans patients.
Despite knowing that he was the sole provider of care for 1600 transgender patients, the GMC has today suspended Dr Mike Webberley MBChB FRCP MD, whose work with the trans and non-binary community has provided life saving interim care, something that is unavailable anywhere else in the UK. Dr Webberley is the fourth UK gender-affirming doctor who has been subject to GMC restrictions.
In response, to secure continuity of care for these patients, GenderGP has taken the necessary step of moving its working hub and medical provision outside of the UK. Patients will experience no change in service other than the reassurance that their care will no longer be subject to what Drs Helen and Mike Webberley have referred to as the “institutional transphobia” which has been evident since Dr Helen Webberley first came under investigation in 2016.
In the meantime, Drs Webberley are urging all gender variant people and their allies to sign its petition calling for better interim healthcare options to be made urgently available: https://www.change.org/p/transgender-healthcare-services-in-the-uk-are-broken-urgent-improvements-are-needed
Dr Mike Webberley was called before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service on May 16th 2019, following a report commissioned by the GMC, to provide an expert opinion on the care given to three younger trans patients.
The report, which was written by an adult endocrinologist with no experience in initiating hormone therapy in a trans patient, and who does not treat anyone under the age of 18, yet judged that the care provided fell below the standards expected of a GMC registered doctor.
This expert witness was asked to evaluate Dr Webberley’s qualifications, training and expertise in this field. He was also asked to evaluate the care given to the three patients. However, for reasons which are currently unclear, the GMC failed to share Dr Webberley’s CV, his resume of clinical experience, or his response to the allegations against him.
Despite the GMC legal team ‘offering their apologies for that omission’ the GMC tribunal went ahead and suspended Dr Webberley from all medical activities.
The expert opined that Dr Webberley was not qualified to provide care to trans patients. He also felt that Dr Webberley had not undertaken any recognised training pathway in transgender care and was not on a specialist register to be able to provide such care. Of note, in the UK, there is no training pathway and no register. Dr Webberley is a highly experienced consultant and clinical manager with 35 years service to the NHS and numerous publications at World Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) International conferences.
The GMC have themselves agreed that there is no specialist register, and in their evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee they stated ‘ the GMC has not approved a sub-specialty in this field……We are not aware of any special interests within curricula for doctors who may have expertise in gender identity medicine/care.’
The three patients in question were all young people. One was a trans boy who was finding the onset of female puberty and chest development distressing, in whom Dr Webberley commenced puberty blockers in line with current UK guidance.
The second was a young trans boy who was prescribed puberty blockers by Dr Helen Webberley at the onset of puberty, and Dr Mike Webberley took over his care when Dr Helen Webberley was temporarily suspended in May 2017.
The third was a patient who was suffering from gender dysphoria and was being prescribed a large number of psychiatric medicines to keep his mental distress at bay. He was denied access to gender care on the NHS, so reached out to Drs Webberley for support. Having reviewed the case, Dr Webberley prescribed gender-affirming hormones. These were then subsequently confiscated by his psychiatric nurse. She complained to the GMC that gender hormones would be harmful.
All three patients and their parents have been more than happy with the care that they received, which is in line with best practice laid out in the Endocrine Society Guidelines, endorsed by the WPATH and adopted by leading gender clinics in the US and Australia.
When the GMC stopped Dr Helen Webberley from providing care to transgender patients in May 2017, it was understood that this would impact on the care of all of her patients. Dr Mike Webberley took over full provision of their care as there is no alternate interim provision available on the NHS.
Yesterday, the GMC was fully aware that any temporary suspension would result in the abrupt cessation of care to Dr Webberley’s 1600 patients. This was not considered to be a mitigating factor and a temporary suspension was applied.
Despite Dr Webberley’s repeated requests to meet with the GMC and the Care Quality Commission to discuss the risks and harm that trans people in the UK are suffering due to the lack of available care, both organisations have refused to meet, listen or discuss.
Having seen the restrictions placed on two previous doctors who have provided gender-affirming care in the UK, and then seeing the action taken against Dr Helen Webberley, and now Dr Mike Webberley, it is apparent that any doctor working in this field in the UK will be subject to the same level of discrimination.
As such, provision has been made to take the medical care and management of all GenderGP services outside of the UK. This will ensure that all current and future trans people who depend on their services will have no break in the care they need.
It is important to note that the GMC investigations into Drs Helen and Mike Webberley are still ongoing, and no definitive conclusions have been made. The available pool of expert witnesses who can be called upon to provide opinions and assistance to the GMC is very limited, and includes doctors who themselves provide NHS services which were found to be failing transgender people in the 2016 Women and Equalities enquiry.