Scottish Government pledges to consider findings of Cass Review into gender

Scottish Government pledges to consider findings of Cass Review into gender

The Scottish Government has said it will “take the time to consider the findings” of the Cass Review into children’s gender services in England.

The long-running study released its final report on Wednesday, saying children had been let down by both a toxic public debate around gender and a lack of understanding around the long-term impacts of some treatments.

The near-400 page report produced 32 recommendations for NHS England, including the creation of a “follow-through service” for those aged 17 to 25 years old.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We agree with Dr Hilary Cass when she highlights that ‘increasingly toxic, ideological and polarised public debate’ does nothing to serve the young people accessing this care, their families and the NHS staff working hard to care for them.

“Since the Cass Review was commissioned, we’ve closely monitored ongoing findings with Scottish Government officials and NHS Scotland clinicians meeting Dr Cass on a number of occasions to share information about improvement work in Scotland.

“While the Cass Review extends only to services provided by NHS England, we will now take the time to consider the findings of the final report in the context of how such healthcare can be best delivered here in Scotland.”

While Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher hit out at the Scottish Government, claiming ministers “rushed into significant gender reform, ignoring the wellbeing and health of children” and urged a pausing of the use of puberty blockers – a decision already taken south of the border.

“While there is a lot of information to digest in this report, one of the most damning conclusions is that children have been let down. This is simply unacceptable,” she said.

Meghan Gallacher
The Scottish Government should pause the use of puberty blockers, the deputy leader of the Scottish Tories said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“If the SNP won’t heed the recommendations made by the Cass review then they must urgently undertake their own evaluation so that we can protect the wellbeing of young people, especially children, accessing these services, starting with pausing the use of puberty blockers.”

Dr Hilary Cass – who conducted the review – said in the report there was “remarkably weak evidence” for some treatments in the field and young people had been caught up in a “stormy social discourse”.

On recent years, Scotland has found itself at the centre of such discourse with the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The legislation – which was eventually blocked by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack – would have made it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate, including by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The controversial Bill faced intense opposition from those who worried it could impact on the rights of women.