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MSs vote against adopting recommendations of Cass Review

02 May 2024 5 minute read
Laura Anne Jones MS

Emily Price

The Senedd has voted against a motion calling for the Welsh Government to accept the recommendations of a landmark report which found that NHS gender care for children has been based on weak evidence.

The Cass Review into NHS England gender identity services for children and young people was published last month.

It concluded that children who are confused about their gender have been “let down” by a lack of research and evidence.

Research by the University of York, carried out alongside the report, found evidence to be severely lacking on the impact of puberty blockers and hormone treatments, while the majority of clinical guidelines were found not to have followed international standards.

Dr Hilary Cass said children questioning their gender identity have been caught up in a “stormy social discourse” in a debate that has become exceptionally “toxic”.

In the Senedd on Wednesday (May 1), the Welsh Conservatives brought forward a debate calling on the Welsh Government to adopt the recommendations of the Cass Review.

The debate was led by Shadow Social Justice Minister, Laura Anne Jones.

During her speech she said it was “appalling” that requests for the Welsh Government to make a statement on the Cass Review had been so far rejected.

She said: “In Wales, they were often silenced – professionals and parents alike told that their fears were baseless, bigoted and even hateful.

“The Welsh Government has brushed off concerns and embedded these principles in their own official plans and school curriculum.”


‘Culture war’

MS for Cardiff Central, Jenny Rathbone said Ms Jones was taking a “messianic approach” to anything to do with gender identity.

She said: “I’m sorry, you have failed to understand that pursuing a culture war of this nature is what makes some clinicians fearful of working with gender-questioning people. Simply tacking this issue as if it didn’t exist is really not helpful.”

Tory MS Sam Rowlands said gender care needs to be based on “facts” rather than “ideology and emotions”.

In Wales, children with gender dysphoria looking to speak to a doctor about changing their gender have to go to London.

Due to NHS England stopping puberty blockers following the publication of the report, there is now no patient pathway for under-18s in Wales.

The Scottish Government have also announced a pause on puberty blockers for children.

Dr Cass’ probe was first announced in 2020 after concerns were raised about a Gender Identity and Development Service (GIDS) operating out of London’s Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

It was the only specialist gender clinic for young people in Wales and England.

9,000 young patients received treatment at the now-shut service.

An investigation by Nation.Cymru revealed that 232 people from Wales who received treatment there could be recommended to take part in a study of the long-term outcomes for patients receiving gender care at a young age.

A further probe by Nation.Cymru found there are currently 259 children and young people from Wales on the waiting list for gender care.

‘Vulnerable’

During Wednesday’s debate, Plaid Cymru MS, Adam Price shared his experience of growing up as a gay teenager.

He said: “I was told it was a phase. It was a phase. Homosexuality was then listed as a mental disorder, right, by the American Psychiatric Association.

“I was told evil, predatory people were preying on the minds of the vulnerable and impressionable young people, promoting a homosexual lifestyle or an agenda, and that those of us who succumb to it would regret it in later life.”

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Eluned Morgan said that due to the “limited number” of young people in Wales requiring gender services, “expert gender identity services” are provided by NHS England.

She said: “Our referral pathway in Wales, into those English services, already aligns with one of the core Cass recommendations, as it includes an assessment by the child and adolescent mental health service before a referral is made.

“NHS Wales has also been working with NHS England, as part of the transformation programme for gender services, to ensure we are aligned to the Cass recommendations, as part of the changes NHS England is making to gender identity services for children and young people.”

The motion was not carried, with 14 MSs in favour and 38 voting against.

Ammendment

Instead, an amendment was tabled by the Welsh Government to propose that the Senedd:

1. Notes the publication of the Cass review.

2. Notes that NHS Wales commissions gender identity services for children and young people 17 and under from NHS England.

3. Notes that NHS England has concluded there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of puberty suppressing hormones for the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and young people at this time.

4. Notes the Welsh Government will continue to develop the transgender guidance for schools taking account of the Cass review and stakeholder views.

This motion was passed with all 52 MSs voting in favour of it.


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KPA
KPA
19 days ago

So what’s scientific fact in England and Scotland somehow isn’t also factual in Wales? Our government needs to prioritise the well-being and safety of children above its own ideological commitments.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago
Reply to  KPA

Did you read the article in full or just jump on the headline?

FrankC
FrankC
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Did you? Maybe read it again and this time pay attention. Note is not the same as accept is it?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
19 days ago

The Cass Review is based on expert knowledge, research and conclusions. Those Senedd members who voted against it have not done any favours for confused young people. As a teacher, I regularly see the emotional damage that this ideology is causing, particularly to confused, often ASD, girls. Incidentally, Adam Price, transgender is not the same as homosexuality. Homosexuality is attraction to person of the same sex, ‘transgender’ is being uncomfortable with your own biological sex and/or physical body. It is not helpful to equate the two. Listen to the experts please, like Dr Cass – she knows what she is… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

You clearly haven’t understood why Adam Price discussed his growing up homosexual when it was treated as a mental illness, something to be “cured” instead of being accepted now as sexual attraction. There are some people that regard gender dysphoria in the same way as homosexuality was treated, “as a phase” to grow out of! There are also some engaged in a “culture war” or “anti-woke*. The title of the article is pure clickbait! The same motion, with the amendment from the government, passed unanimously! There are some people that need to re-read the article, especially the last section under… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Richard Davies
Mr Williams
Mr Williams
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

I clearly have understood. The linking of homosexuality with transgender, as I said, is unhelpful. They are two completely different phenomena.

I see the emotional damage being caused to confused teenagers, especially ASD girls, regularly, which is why I think the WG should have adopted the Cass recommendations, not just ‘noted’ them.

Last edited 19 days ago by Mr Williams
Mrs E Jones
Mrs E Jones
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

But homosexuality and gender dysphoria are not the same. One is not in need of medical care, the other very much is. That medical care should be evidenced based and should first do no harm.
Why is that a problem?

Mrs E Jones
Mrs E Jones
19 days ago

If anyone needed evidence that the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have been swallowed by Stonewall, here it is. Adam Price is madly mistaken for correlating the homophobia of his youth with the social contagion that is currently threatening gay and lesbian youth of today. As Cass identifies, over 80% of the kids being pushed through this system are same sex attracted. Transing the gay away. The problem is the WG have become so entrenched in Stinewall ideology that they now cannot bear to lose face. That they have the arrogance to ‘reject’ the expert findings of an independent review… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago
Reply to  Mrs E Jones

There is no mention of Stonewall in the article! Read my response to Mr. Williams (above). Did you read the article in full or just jump on the headline?

Mrs E Jones
Mrs E Jones
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Stonewall is behind the LGBTQ Action plan and informs the WGs decision making on all matters education and health. It’s all over this.
And yes, Richard I have read it and I follow the subject closely because I don’t think kids should be given experimental life altering medicine. Do you?

hdavies15
hdavies15
18 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Stonewall didn’t get mentioned but they are an unhelpful influence on the pliable minds at Y Senedd whose urge to display their impeccable virtues overwhelms any logic or sense of responsibility. This issue will not go away until people with real problems get real help and resources allocated instead of being used by assorted grandstanders as yet more excuses for making lots of noises.

Hannah
Hannah
14 days ago
Reply to  Mrs E Jones

This doesn’t happen. The “80% figure” is based on an outdated definition from a study that has since been deprecated by countless later studies. Our existence is not couched in homophobia.

Hannah
Hannah
14 days ago

Thank God. The Cass Review is pseudoscientific drivel, with no peer review, taken as fact by a national Labour and Conservative Party unwilling to tackle the countless genuine issues of this country, and published by a set of figures openly supportive of conversion therapy, whilst using the exact same rhetoric as was used against gay people in decades previously, as though the focus of this reactionary nonsense won’t inevitably turn back towards relitigating homophobia if/when our rights have been eroded enough. I’m unhappy with Gething’s corruption but I’m pleased to affirm my support for these policies.

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