Doctor who ran online clinic for transgender children put patients at risk of harm, tribunal finds

A medical tribunal found Helen Webberley failed to discuss risks to fertility to a patient and follow-up care to people prescribed testosterone

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A doctor who ran an online clinic for transgender children put patients at “unwarranted risk of harm” by failing to provide follow-up care, a medical tribunal has found.

Dr Helen Webberley, founder of website GenderGP, 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.

On Tuesday, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel found her fitness to practise was impaired by reason of her misconduct, which included failing to discuss risks to fertility with a patient, and on wider public interest grounds.

The tribunal, chaired by Angus Macpherson, found Dr Webberley’s actions amounted to serious misconduct in failing to provide adequate follow-up care to two patients, aged 12 and 17, who were prescribed testosterone.

In its findings, the panel said it was satisfied Dr Webberley had since “obtained insight” and would implement changes if she returned to practise.

But it said: “The tribunal has found that Dr Webberley’s misconduct in this regard did put Patients A and B at unwarranted risk of harm.

Helen Webberley
Helen Webberley

“In the tribunal’s view an informed member of the public would be surprised if a finding of impairment on public interest grounds were not made in those circumstances.

“It therefore finds that Dr Webberley’s fitness to practise is impaired on wider public interest grounds.”

The panel found Dr Webberley failed an 11-year-old, referred to as Patient C, by not discussing risks to fertility at a consultation before prescribing GnHRa, or puberty blockers.

It said: “The tribunal did not consider that Dr Webberley has developed sufficient understanding as to the significance of how she failed Patient C in regard to discussing fertility, and as to how she can be sure that this will not be repeated.”

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

The tribunal found her fitness to practise was also impaired by reason of her conviction.

In evidence to the tribunal, Dr Webberley said: “The impact of having the conviction on myself was huge, it affected many things in my life, from my mortgage to my car insurance.

“I also know that the public were concerned about it because it was heavily reported in the press, but I hope that I have been able to show that at all times I acted with the best interests of my patients at the forefront of my actions.”

Earlier, this year, the panel found more than 30 allegations brought by the General Medical Council (GMC) against the doctor were proved.

However, the panel said the doctor was competent to provide treatment to transgender people and found 83 allegations not proved.

The tribunal is still to decide whether to impose a sanction on Dr Webberley.