Gender-confused kids in Scotland will still be allowed to take experimental puberty-blocking drugs, under proposed country-wide standards.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s draft standards for ‘Gender identity healthcare: Adults and young people’ propose to allow children and young people to take cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers as long as they are informed of “the potential benefits and risks” and regularly monitored.
The standards, which are open for public consultation until March, were commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of its wider gender identity services framework for 2022-2024.
Although Healthcare Improvement Scotland claimed that its proposals are based on “best practice and consensus”, campaign group For Women Scotland called the decision to continue prescribing young people puberty blockers: “Absolutely shocking”.
The Scottish Conservatives’ deputy leader, Meghan Gallacher MSP, said: “The SNP need to urgently be upfront about their justifications for continuing puberty-blocker services in Scotland when the risks of using such treatments are not well known and have been restricted elsewhere in the UK.”
In June, NHS England announced its intention not to ‘routinely commission’ puberty-blocking drugs for gender-confused children and young people, after Dr Hilary Cass highlighted significant “uncertainties” surrounding such usage of the experimental drugs.
For example, the drugs threaten future fertility, possibly brain development, and likely result in decreased bone mineralisation (meaning a higher risk of fractures).
Last week, Scotland’s Outer House of the Court of Session ruled that the UK Government acted lawfully in vetoing Holyrood’s gender self-ID Bill.
In the Court’s decision, Judge Lady Haldane ruled that Scottish Secretary Alister Jack ‘reasonably and lawfully’ blocked the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in order to protect the integrity of UK-wide equalities legislation.
The proposals, which MSPs approved by 86 to 39 votes last December, sought to allow 16-year-olds to change their legal sex by self-declaration without a medical diagnosis, and reduce the waiting time for adults from two years to just three months.