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Transgender services GP is fined for failing to register online services

Helen Webberley, pictured outside court in Merthyr Tydfil today, has been fined £12,000 for running a transgender clinic despite being refused a licence to operate it 

A doctor has been fined £12,000 for running an unlicensed transgender clinic where she prescribed sex-change hormones for children as young as 12. 

Helen Webberley, 49, ran the online Gender GP clinic from her home in a bid to help children looking for gender reassignment but her licence to operate it was refused. 

The GP, from Abergavenny in Wales, continued to run the clinic for almost a year and prescribed hormone treatment which causes permanent body changes, a court was told. 

Webberley was convicted of illegally providing healthcare services but said in a statement she was ‘acting in the best interests of my patients’.    

The doctor charged between £75 and £150 an hour for the service offering specialist advice for transgender patients. 

In one case she prescribed hormones to a 12-year-old patient who had been living as a boy and had been taking puberty blockers since the age of nine but was refused testosterone on the NHS. 

Her online firm operated without a licence between March 2017 and February 2018, Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court was told, after medical services watchdog Healthcare Inspectorate Wales had refused one last year.

Webberley insisted she was innocent and said shutting her service risked patients coming to harm but District Judge Neil Thomas ruled her company broke the Care Standards Act, saying she had shown a ‘clear refusal to follow the law’.  

In a statement posted online Webberley said she had never had any complaints from patients. 

She said: ‘With no other timely route to legitimate treatment, and a strong likelihood that my patients would opt to self medicate without any supervision rather than be sent to the back of the waiting list, I chose to continue to provide support and healthcare to the best of my ability.  

Webberley, pictured, prescribed life-changing hormone treatment to children despite a Welsh health watchdog's decision to refuse her Gender GP service a licence to operate 

Webberley, pictured, prescribed life-changing hormone treatment to children despite a Welsh health watchdog’s decision to refuse her Gender GP service a licence to operate 

GP Helen Webberley’s full statement outside court today  

After the hearing Dr Webberley said she was ‘stunned’ at the court’s decision.

She said: ‘I was stunned at the outcome of the hearing held in August which reached its conclusion today.

‘I began providing private healthcare to the trans and non binary community because there was a desperate need and there was no such NHS provision within Wales.

‘My work, which so many of my patients have called life-saving, has now resulted in a criminal record and this is absolutely devastating for me.

‘I never set out to break the law. I had hoped to be able to work with the HIW to register my services while continuing to provide the care that was so desperately needed, but sadly this was not an option.

‘The needs of this minority group of people must be recognised. We as a country can do better. The NHS waiting time of up to four years for a first appointment is unconstitutional. Better interim care options must be provided and I urge regulators to take a more collaborative approach.

‘I am taking this fight to Parliament. I have written a letter calling for a better deal for trans and non binary people and I urge gender variant people and their allies to lend their support.’  

‘I made the decision to continue providing services, while the issues of registration were resolved,’ she said. 

‘I was acting in the best interests of my patients in continuing to provide support rather than stop as I had been instructed to do.’   

After the hearing she said she was ‘stunned’ at the court’s decision, saying: ‘I began providing private healthcare to the trans and non binary community because there was a desperate need and there was no such NHS provision within Wales.

‘My work, which so many of my patients have called life-saving, has now resulted in a criminal record and this is absolutely devastating for me.

‘I never set out to break the law. I had hoped to be able to work with the HIW to register my services while continuing to provide the care that was so desperately needed, but sadly this was not an option.

‘The needs of this minority group of people must be recognised. We as a country can do better.  

‘I am taking this fight to Parliament. I have written a letter calling for a better deal for trans and non binary people and I urge gender variant people and their allies to lend their support.’ 

Russell Davies, defending her in court, said Webberley set up the company in 2014 and received a ‘snowballing’ of interest.  

Mr Davies said: ‘Webberley didn’t set up the company for financial gain or for profit at all.

‘Here was a doctor who was providing care, information and advice that was very much needed. But her business was not registered.

‘It was never anticipated by Webberley that the registration of the company would be in any way controversial.

The 49-year-old doctor, pictured left outside Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court today, charged between £75 and £150 an hour for the service offering specialist advice

The 49-year-old doctor, pictured left outside Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court today, charged between £75 and £150 an hour for the service offering specialist advice

‘She didn’t appreciate that the company needed registration until it was pointed out to her.

‘Webberley always followed the international guidelines for transgender care, but what she didn’t do was to state how many patients there were, how old they were and what treatment was included.

‘It is regrettable that she didn’t provide that information. She didn’t provide it due to confidentiality and that was misplaced.

‘She was a very caring practitioner who never developed the company for financial gain. She was only motivated by the care of her patients.’

District Judge Neale Thomas ordered Webberley to pay a £12,000 fine as well as a £2,000 fine issued to her GenderGP buisness.

Dr Webberley was also told to pay £11,307 costs.

Judge Thomas said: ‘In this case there seems to be a clear refusal to follow the law and that is a significant aggravating factor.

‘Webberley was a doctor of considerable experience. The court has to regard this offence as serious.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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