THE Scottish Government has said it will “take the time to consider the findings” of the Cass Review into children’s gender services in England.

The long-running study released its final report on Wednesday, saying children had been let down by a “toxic” public debate around gender and that health professionals were afraid to discuss the topic due to the “worst bullying behaviour”.

Dr Hillary Cass, who led the review, also concluded that there was a lack of understanding around the long-term impacts of some treatments and an insufficient amount of data to draw strong conclusions on best practice.

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The near-400 page report produced 32 recommendations for NHS England, including the creation of a “follow-through service” for those aged 17 to 25 years old.

Cass said the first step “is to expand capacity, offer wider interventions, upskill the broader workforce, take an individualised, personal approach to care, and put in place the mechanisms to collect the data needed for quality improvement and research”.

Labour have said the review should be a “watershed moment”, with shadow health secretary Wes Streeting pledging to implement its recommendations should his party win the next General Election.

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LGBT rights organisation Stonewall said that some of the recommendations – such as expanding provision of healthcare by moving away from a single national service towards a series of regional centres – could have a positive impact.

However, it warned that others could “lead to new barriers that prevent children and young people from accessing the care they need”.

Robbie de Santos, Stonewall’s director of campaigns and human rights, urged policymakers to “read and digest the full report and consider Dr Cass's plea 'to remember the children and young people trying to live their lives and the families/carers and clinicians doing their best to support them. All should be treated with compassion and respect’."

Responding to the report, the Scottish Government said it agreed that the debate around gender is toxic, and said it would consider how the recommendations for NHS England could inform care in Scotland.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We agree with Dr Hilary Cass when she highlights that ‘increasingly toxic, ideological and polarised public debate’ does nothing to serve the young people accessing this care, their families and the NHS staff working hard to care for them.

“Since the Cass Review was commissioned, we’ve closely monitored ongoing findings with Scottish Government officials and NHS Scotland clinicians meeting Dr Cass on a number of occasions to share information about improvement work in Scotland.

“While the Cass Review extends only to services provided by NHS England, we will now take the time to consider the findings of the final report in the context of how such healthcare can be best delivered here in Scotland.”

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Dr Cass – who conducted the review – said in the report there was “remarkably weak evidence” for some treatments in the field and young people had been caught up in a “stormy social discourse”.

On recent years, Scotland has found itself at the centre of such discourse with the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The legislation – which was eventually blocked by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack despite being passed with support from all five parties at Holyrood – would have made it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate, including by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The controversial bill faced intense opposition from those who worried it could impact on the rights of women.

The full Cass Review can be found online here.