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by Kirsteen Paterson
03 May 2024
Cass Review author set to appear before Scottish Parliament health committee

Dr Hilary Cass | Alamy

Cass Review author set to appear before Scottish Parliament health committee

The author of the Cass Review into gender identity services for children and young people is to give evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee.

Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, will appear before MSPs next week.

The appearance comes as the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee considers the content of her four-year review of specialist services for young patients with gender incongruence in England.

It was commissioned after concerns were raised about work being carried out at London's Tavistock clinic, to which some Scottish patients were referred.

The clinic closed in March this year and referrals from Scotland were redirected to the Young People's Gender Service at the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow.

After the Cass Review recommended "extreme caution" in the prescription of puberty blockers for young patients, and reported that the evidence base for this area of medicine is "weak", it emerged that Scottish health bosses have suspended the prescription of hormone treatments for new patients aged under 18.

The decision was made by clinicians and backed by health secretary Neil Gray.

However, the organisation Scottish Trans said this was "the wrong decision" and would "harm trans children and young people".

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Public Health and Women's Health Minister Jenni Minto said the government would take time to consider the 400-page Cass Review and announced that a new multi-disciplinary team led by the chief medical officer will examine the clinical recommendations of the paper and how these apply to Scotland.

And MSPs on the Education, Children and Young People Committee wrote to First Minister Humza Yousaf seeking a child rights and wellbeing impact assessment on the matter.

At Tuesday's meeting Cass will take questions from members of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee in a 9am session. The item is the first on the agenda.

The 10-person panel is chaired by the SNP's Clare Haughey. Dr Sandesh Gulhane of the Conservatives is a member, as is Gillian Mackay of the Greens.

Other members include Labour's Paul Sweeney and Carol Mochan, Tess White of the Conservatives and Emma Harper, Ruth Maguire, Ivan McKee and David Torrance of the SNP.

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