Scottish Ministers should have acted quicker on gender identity service concerns

Dr Hilary Cass who led the report into the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People
Dr Hilary Cass who led the report into the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People -Credit:PA Wire

The recent publication of the Cass Review into gender identity services in England shed some welcome light on a difficult subject.

Young trans people need support from the NHS in the same way that any other group requires assistance.

One of these interventions to date has been the use of puberty blockers.

But the Cass report raised legitimate concerns about medical treatments, including puberty blockers, for children and young people.

It concluded that the evidence base is weak and urged ‘extreme caution’ on gender treatments.

The NHS in England had already confirmed in March that puberty blockers would no longer be prescribed to children, but the Scottish NHS was less transparent.

It was only yesterday that the country’s specialist clinic in Glasgow said it would pause puberty blockers for the under 18s.

This came after days of dithering and delay from Ministers which only confused young trans people and created uncertainty for parents.

The overriding factor in this issue is that all treatments must be safe for patients.

Cass could not give that guarantee and it is right the NHS has intervened.

But Scottish Ministers should have acted quicker to reassure the public they would implement Cass in full.

It is correct that the review focused on England and Wales, but it is impossible to argue the findings do not also apply to Scotland.

NHS treatments must be based on evidence and the data for puberty blockers is simply not there.

Net zero shame

For a country that has sought to paint itself as a world leader on climate change, yesterday was a grim day.

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan’s announcement Scotland has been forced to ditch its vital 2030 emissions target was probably inevitable.

Especially after the independent Climate Change Committee’s scathing report last month saying the target was no longer credible.

But what’s incredible - after Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” in 2019 and spoke more warm words at COP26 in Glasgow two years later - is this SNP-Green government’s abject failure, so far, to move at the pace required.

We’re seeing the reality of climate change in our world daily, from the unbelievable flooding in Dubai to deadly heatwaves in Africa.

The vast majority of Scots understand what is happening and want real, concrete action on this - today.

They care about leaving behind a world worth living in for their children and grandchildren.

If the Scottish Government doesn’t get its act together soon, and get on course to deliver a real plan for net zero by 2045 as promised, the public won’t forgive them.

And neither will future generations.

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