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CASS Review implications for the Sandyford Clinic

TOPIC: CASS Review implications for the Sandyford Clinic

Proposer Denise Findlay Seconded by Laura Whyte


In March 2022 the interim report by Dr Hilary Cass – the Cass Review: Interim Report – was published.  The report was commissioned by NHS England to investigate child gender services. The report was damning, finding the Tavistock clinic, in England, not a safe or viable long-term option for children.

Subsequent to this report the Tavistock child gender services clinic was closed.

The previous year in January 2021 the then Cabinet Secretary for Health was asked about initiating a Scottish Cass report they responded:

“We do not look to duplicate the work of the [Cass] review in Scotland and will closely consider the findings of the review when they become available.” 

Despite this assurance on 28th April 2022 the First Minister confirmed in Parliament that the Scottish Government would disregard the advice of the Cass Review. 

This is despite the Cass review concluding “A fundamentally different service model is needed which is more in line with other paediatric provision”.

Conference notes with concern that in Scotland the Sandyford child gender services clinic follows the same discredited treatment protocols for gender-distressed children as Tavistock. These are the protocols which were found, by Cass, to be clinically flawed and harmful to children.

Conference is disappointed that the Scottish Government has not taken on board the findings of the Cass report by halting referrals to the Sandyford Clinic and has instead forged ahead with a £9 million allocation of funds this year, primarily aimed at addressing waiting times.   

Conference believes that referrals to Sandyford should be halted until the service is reformed and, as recommended by Cass, the service moves away from the affirmative only approach.  

In addition, Conference calls for an urgent review of NHS care of gender-distressed children which should be based on clinical need not on ideology.  

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