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UCL Women's Liberation



Hannah Barnes “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 28 April 2023

A reminder for our event on Thursday 25th May 2023, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM:

Hannah Barnes “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”

Hannah Barnes will introduce her highly acclaimed account of events at the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service for children. A panel discussion will follow, including Dr David Bell and Dr Anna Hutchinson. The event will be followed by refreshments from 7.30pm and a chance to buy Hannah Barnes’ book.

“Time to Think” goes behind the headlines to reveal the truth about the NHS’s flagship gender service for children.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the Tavistock and Portman Trust in North London, was set up initially to provide – for the most part – talking therapies to young people who were questioning their gender identity. But in the last decade GIDS has referred more than a thousand children, some as young as nine years old, for medication to block their puberty. In the same period, the number of young people seeking GIDS’s help exploded, increasing twenty-five-fold. The profile of the patients changed too: from largely pre-pubescent boys to mostly adolescent girls, who were often contending with other difficulties.

Why had the patients changed so dramatically? Were all these distressed young people best served by taking puberty blockers and then cross-sex hormones, which cause irreversible changes to the body? While some young people appeared to thrive after taking the blocker, many seemed to become worse. Was there enough clinical evidence to justify such profound medical interventions in the lives of young people who had so much else to contend with?

This urgent, scrupulous and dramatic book explains how, in the words of some former staff, GIDS has been the site of a serious medical scandal, in which ideological concerns took priority over clinical practice. Award-winning journalist Hannah Barnes has had unprecedented access to thousands of pages of documents, including internal emails and unpublished reports, and well over a hundred hours of personal testimony from GIDS clinicians, former service users and senior Tavistock figures. The result is a disturbing and gripping parable for our times.

This event provides an opportunity to hear from Hannah Barnes and Tavistock insiders and discuss the issues raised by “Time to Think”.


Hannah Barnes is Investigations Producer at Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship television news and current affairs programme. Prior to joining Newsnight in 2016, Hannah was a daily programme editor at Radio 4’s Today programme and a reporter and producer on a range of BBC radio programmes and documentaries. She began reporting on gender identity services for young people in 2019. Her book, “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”, was published by Swift Press in February 2023 and is a Sunday Times Bestseller.

Dr David Bell retired in 2021 from his post as Consultant Psychiatrist at the Tavistock. In his role as Staff Representative on the Council of Governors he raised serious concerns about the Gender Identity Service (GIDS). His report gained wide publicity and became part of the chain of events leading to the judicial review, the Cass report and finally the decision to close the service. He is also a leading psychiatric expert in asylum/human rights. He is a former President of the British Psychoanalytic Society.

Dr Anna Hutchinson is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in adolescent mental health and embodied distress over many years. She was a senior psychologist in the GIDS service between 2013 and 2017 and her concerns relating to the clinical practice she witnessed there formed a key part of the narrative in “Time to Think”.


UCL Institute of Education, WC1H 0AL

The event is open to all, but please register below as spaces are limited

Registration link

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