The Australian Doctors Federation is in communication with Dr Jillian Spencer, a child psychiatrist who has been stood down in Queensland over allegations relating to the treatment of gender dysphoria in children.
Dr Spencer’s situation raises serious questions about the independence of medical decision making, being a reminder that good clinical practice must determine what is in the best interests of the patient.
The ADF advocates for and supports medical practitioners who may be targeted for upholding important professional principles, especially in ensuring the need for procedural fairness and natural justice when there is dispute about their practice.
Gender dysphoria in children and its skilled and considered medical management are the subject of ongoing debate, both in Australia and internationally. There is a particular obligation to first do no harm when making medical decisions during a particularly volatile period of a person’s development, especially should the outcome potentially not accord with later mature reflection.
It is essential for good medicine and societal well-being that there is open and unbigoted debate about the merits or otherwise of relevant treatment protocols, and that medical decision-making be guided by evidence rather than bias or ideology.
The ADF is aware that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is currently revising its Position Statement 103: Recognising and addressing the mental health needs of people experiencing Gender Dysphoria/ Gender Incongruence and appreciates its commitment to considering an extensive range of evidence and its thoughtful and respectful approach to this sensitive topic.