Scottish Government considering ban on puberty blockers

Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Government would not take an ‘inordinate’ amount of time considering the Cass Review.

Scottish Government considering ban on puberty blockers Getty Images

Scotland’s First Minister has said the Government will consider every recommendation of a major gender care review including on the prescription of puberty blockers.

The Cass Review – named after its head, Dr Hilary Cass – was released last week and found the evidence base for gender care in young people had been thin and children had been let down by a “toxic” public discourse around gender.

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.

While the recommendation would be considered, the prescription of treatments should be one made by clinicians rather than politicians, the First Minister added.

Scottish Government officials had met Dr Cass several times over the course of her review “to share information” about improving care in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has come under pressure to scrap the use of puberty blockers, with SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Alba Party MSP Ash Regan and Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher calling for a review.

That consideration, he said, would be as swift as possible.

“Every recommendation that Dr Cass makes will be considered as part of that consideration of the entire report including the recommendations that she makes in relation to puberty blockers, and that is one element of the recommendations that Dr Cass makes,” Yousaf told BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday.

The Tavistock Clinic in London – which offered gender services – was closed this year, but the First Minister said Scotland’s hub at the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow would not suffer the same fate.

“I don’t believe there is a case to close the Sandyford,” he said.

“Sandyford provides, we know, some exceptional health care to some of those who are the most marginalised and vulnerable… not just young people, but we know, right across the spectrum.

“At the same time, one of the key recommendations is around perhaps more regional health centres.

“So that’s something that is worth consideration, worth exploring and we’ll take some time to consider that in relation to Dr Cass’s review.”

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