Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Senedd to debate Cass Review recommendations

29 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Image – Danny Lawson

Emily Price

The Welsh Government will face a vote this week on whether 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 will bring forward a  motion calling on the Welsh Government to adopt the recommendations of the Cass Review.

The party will also call for the assurance that “children and their parents are supported with common sense, fact-based guidance”.

Dr Hilary Cass – Image: Yui Mok

Findings

Welsh Conservative Shadow Social Justice Minister, Laura Anne Jones said: “The landmark Cass review is hugely significant for Wales. Regretfully, despite the weight of the findings, we are still yet to see a Labour Minister come to the Senedd and give a statement in response.

“In the next Senedd next week, I look forward to bringing forward a Welsh Conservative debate on the Cass review, and will call on the Labour Government to adopt the recommendations of the Cass review.”

Plaid Cymru has tabled an amendment to the Tory motion calling for the Welsh Government to develop gender identity services for young people in Wales.

The Welsh Government have also tabled an amendment which reads:

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.

Gender dysphoria

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

The UK Government Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins says NHS England must end the “culture of secrecy and ideology over evidence and safety” and make changes to gender care swiftly.

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 recommended “extreme caution” in the use of the drugs, warning that the hormones could harm bone density.

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.

Outcomes

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.

NHS England has agreed to pick up responsibility from the Cass Review for progressing a data linkage study into long term outcomes but individuals who do not wish to take part can “opt out”.

The Welsh Government says it’s reviewing the recommendations of the report.

A spokesperson said: “The Cass Review aims to ensure children and young people who are questioning their gender identity or experiencing gender dysphoria, and require support from the NHS, receive a high standard of care that meets their needs and is safe, holistic and effective.

“We are committed to improving the Gender Identity Development pathway and the support available for young people in Wales, in line with the commitments in our LGBTQ+ plan.

“We will consider the review’s findings and continue to be driven by the evidence to support the needs of young people who are questioning their gender.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt
Matt
22 days ago

It’s worth reading Dr Cass’s follow up FAQ with Kites and on the Cass Review website because the reporting of the review doesn’t align with what she’s said. She’s critical of the NHS setup of treating GIDS, CAMHS and various neurodivergence services as distinct services with their own waiting lists when there is significant overlap for trans youth. Currently you are referred to one service and cannot go on the waiting list for another service until you’ve been discharged. NHS policy is for under 17’s to be on puberty blockers for at least a year before they can go on… Read more »

Another Richard
Another Richard
22 days ago

Any MSs who vote against accepting the recommendations of the Cass Review will thereby demonstrate their unfitness to hold any public office.

Jen
Jen
22 days ago

The Jane Hutt amendment wipes out the Cass recommendations apart from acknowledging that NHS England policy has changed.
The Wales Government seems very frightened by the Cass Review. In Westminster, for the Labour Party, Wes Streeting has said the recommendations will be accepted. Including for Education and schools and involving parents, carers and families.

Matt
Matt
22 days ago
Reply to  Jen

How can Wes Streeting accept the recommendations for education and schools when none of the 32 recommendations mention schools or education?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.