Gender Recognition: Children and Young People

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 3rd August 2020.

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Photo of Christine Jardine Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Minister for Women and Equalities's answer to question 73 at the oral evidence session of the Women and Equalities Select Committee on 22 April 2020, what the Government's policy is on restrictions on medical treatment for gender dysphoria for people under the age of 18.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

People under 18 are able to access the following medical treatment from gender identity services: psychological assessment, hormone blockers and cross sex hormones.

Surgery is not available through the under 18 service.

The availability of these treatments is dependent on age as when young people reach the age of 16, they are presumed in law to be competent to give consent for themselves for their own surgical, medical or dental treatment, and any associated procedures, such as investigations, anaesthesia or nursing care.

Those under 16 are not automatically presumed to be legally competent to make decisions about their healthcare. However, the courts under the Gillick competence, have stated that under 16s will be competent to give valid consent to a particular intervention if they have “sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable them to understand fully what is proposed”.

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