LGBT Greens say party could leave government over puberty blockers pause

Furious Green Party members have launched a petition on the future of the Bute House Agreement.

Furious LGBT Scottish Greens say party could leave Government over NHS puberty blockers pause Getty Images

The Scottish Greens are facing a revolt from LGBT members of the party furious at the NHS’s decision to pause the prescription of puberty blockers for new patients.

Rainbow Greens suggested that co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater – who are also government ministers – could abandon their deal with the SNP.

The group, which represents LGBT members of the party, claimed the Scottish Government “does not care about the welfare or rights of transgender people in Scotland”.

The decision by the Scottish NHS to stop the treatment at the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow follows a major review into gender care in England that found the medicine was “built on shaky foundations”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said his Government will consider every recommendation of the Cass Review.

The report found the evidence base for gender care in young people had been thin and children had been let down by a “toxic” public discourse.

The Scottish Government has been under pressure to rule out the routine use of puberty blockers – for which the review said there was “not enough evidence” – as has been done in the NHS in England.

The Rainbow Greens criticised the move by Scotland’s NHS on Thursday and accused the Cass Review of being “deeply flawed, biased and widely described by many of those who took part as being conducted by regularly ignoring witnesses and disregarding internationally accepted, peer-reviewed evidence”.

The group has launched a petition for Green members calling for an urgent party meeting to question the future of the Bute House Agreement and the Scottish Green Party’s role in Government.

A spokesperson said: “We call on all MSPs that have attended pride events, that have attended receptions, who regularly say ‘We stand with the trans community’ that it is now time to stand up to a report that has been commissioned by a right-wing government, excluded research from some of the world’s most respected minds on trans healthcare, which refused to take evidence from the very people affected by this report. 

“We also call on the cabinet secretary for health and social care to commission his own, independent, fully evidenced-based review.”

Speaking at the protest in Glasgow, Rainbow Greens co-convener Jen Bell said: “For years, gender-affirming care has been shadow banned in Scotland due to lack of reform.

“Trans patients have been forced to languish on years-long waiting lists or go private at considerable expense.” 

“In the Bute House Agreement, the Scottish Government promised to dismantle the gatekeeper system and put trans patients at the heart of decisions on their own healthcare. Sandyford’s decision breaks that promise.

“If the Government fails to keep its promises then the future of the Bute House Agreement is called into question, and the members will demand answers. Greens in Government would do well to take heed.”

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay said: “Trans rights are human rights and we are very concerned about the decision announced by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the potential impacts it will have on young people.

“This was a clinical decision and not a Scottish Government one and we are in close discussions with colleagues on how to resolve the issue and ensure the well-being of trans people is at the heart of our response.”

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