Thank you for contacting me about the banning of 'modern conversion therapy'.
You might be interested in my article about conversion therapy legislation here.
I understand that many people were disappointed that the King's Speech did not include a Bill to ban the practices of so- called conversion therapy. However, I can assure you that no one in this country should be harmed or harassed for who they are and attempts at conversion therapy are abhorrent. I welcome that the Government are carefully considering this very complex issue and I have been informed that further details will be set out in due course.
In relation to the prescription of puberty blockers to children and young people, I understand that NHS England has now developed a draft policy that makes clear that puberty blockers should no longer be routinely available on the NHS and only provided in the context of clinical research (except in truly exceptional cases, when decisions will be taken with careful oversight). This draft policy position is consistent with advice from the Cass Review which highlighted the significant uncertainty surrounding the use of hormone treatments and has been informed by the evidence reviews conducted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2020.
In compliance with its legal duties, NHS England launched a public consultation on the proposals for puberty suppressing hormones which closed on 1 November. NHS England will consider all consultation responses and publish a finalised interim policy alongside a full consultation report and detailed analysis.
In the meantime, any puberty blocker prescribing requests will continue to be reviewed by the independent Multi Professional Review Group that was set up by NHS England in 2021, to review all such prescribing requests and ensure they have correctly followed relevant procedures, such as fully assessing competence. For children who, at the point the proposed new clinical policy takes effect, have already been referred into an endocrine clinic and/or already prescribed puberty blockers through an NHS prescription, the consultant endocrinologist will need to consider with the child or young person and their family whether to continue with prescribing within the current clinical pathway.
You may also be interested to know that a new national Children and Young People’s Gender Dysphoria Research Oversight Board has been established, chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a non-executive director of NHS England’s board. Sir Simon’s appointment reflects the commitment of the most senior leaders in the NHS to high quality, evidence-based care for children experiencing gender dysphoria.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP