Tories accuse ministers of ‘buck-passing’ on Cass Review

Dr Hilary Cass is due to speak to a Holyrood committee about her report.

Tories accuse ministers of ‘buck-passing’ on Cass Review PA Media

The Scottish Conservatives are accusing ministers of “buck-passing” on the Cass Review into gender care services, as the author of the report is to appear at a Holyrood committee.

The Tories say the Scottish Government should fully implement the recommendations of Dr Hilary Cass’s report.

Dr Cass will be speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee on Tuesday as it takes evidence on her study.

Following the publication of her review, two Scottish health boards – one of which covers the only gender clinic in the country for young people – decided to pause the prescription of puberty blockers to new patients.

Health Secretary Neil Gray has said he backs the decision by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian.

He has said the government and health boards are considering the recommendations of the Cass Review, which had criticised the lack of evidence around the use of puberty blockers and other medical interventions.

The Scottish Conservatives are leading a debate on the issue at Holyrood on Wednesday.

The party’s deputy leader, Meghan Gallacher, said: “SNP ministers have let down vulnerable young Scots with their ducking, dithering and buck-passing on gender care in the wake of the Cass Review.

“They insisted the decision to pause puberty blockers to new patients was made solely by clinicians, refused to confirm whether they will implement any of the 32 Cass recommendations and failed to address the cuts to gender care services.”

She continued: “Now that Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater have been kicked out of government, the SNP need to finally put the healthcare of young people ahead of placating the Greens, and implement the Cass findings.

“I’m delighted that Dr Hilary will be appearing before Holyrood’s health committee today.

“I only hope that the SNP will listen carefully to her evidence – which will be based on science, rather than dogma – and act accordingly.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Cass Review is a comprehensive and valid scientific document. In line with NHS England – for whom the report was commissioned – we are considering all of the recommendations.

“A multidisciplinary clinical team within the office of the chief medical officer in the Scottish Government – including people with paediatric, pharmacy and scientific expertise – is leading this work. The chief medical officer will provide a written update to Parliament on the outcome of that clinical consideration process before the summer recess.

“Progress has already been made on a number of aspects highlighted in the Cass review, including NHS National Education Scotland developing training materials for staff; Healthcare Improvement Scotland consulting on new quality standards for gender identity healthcare and the University of Glasgow receiving funding to administer a programme of research into the long-term health outcomes of people accessing gender identity healthcare.

“As part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to improve gender identity healthcare in Scotland, we have invested over £2.8 million to support improvement work since December 2022.”

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