Parents have raised concerns after teenagers were reportedly given sex-changing drugs through a private clinic after just an hour long video call.
The appointments took place through the private London clinic, GenderCare, which describes itself as “a network of individual healthcare practitioners, all qualified professionals experienced in the gender field”.
One mother claimed her 18-year-old son had a 55-minute consultation and was told they were eligible for hormone treatment, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The newspaper said another mother said their daughter, also 18, had a 90-minute video call before being given a referral for “gender changing medication”.
The individuals were both reportedly seen by Dr Stuart Lorimer, a consultant psychiatrist, who they claim prescribed the hormone treatment.
GenderCare accepts patients from 18 years old and charges up to £300 for a first appointment with Dr Lorimer. There is no indication Dr Lorimer or GenderCare have broken any medical guidelines.
According to the NHS, young people who exhibit “lasting signs” of gender dysphoria may be referred to a hormone specialist to check their eligibility to take hormone blockers before reaching puberty.
Teenagers aged 16 years and older who’ve been on hormone blockers for at least year may be eligible for cross-sex hormones - also known as gender-affirming hormones.
There is some uncertainty about the risks involved in taking these drugs over the long term and NHS England is currently reviewing the evidence of their use by the Gender Identity Development Service - which works with children experiencing gender identity issues.
Adults should be referred to a gender dysphoria clinic, the NHS website says, where a “multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals” will offer ongoing assessments and treatment.
But some parents have expressed concern at the speed of which the drugs were prescribed.
One mother told The Mail on Sunday: “The whole thing was utterly horrifying. The appointment lasted for less than an hour because Dr Lorimer felt they had covered all they needed to cover, although I felt they had barely touched the surface in that time.
“My husband and I were extremely worried that what we thought was an exploratory chat has resulted in him taking life-changing, sterilising medication. We feel extremely concerned that he was rushed into this too fast.”
Waiting times for a first appointment with an NHS gender clinic can take over a year, and there are reports of increasing numbers of young people turning to private clinics.
Dr Lorimer and GenderCare did not respond to requests for comment.