A growing number of doctors have expressed “serious professional concerns” about a NSW government framework for the treatment of gender dysphoria in children, and say it ignores the “cautious” models adopted by the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland and France.
In an open letter to NSW MPs, more than 35 psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors also criticised the government’s decision to appoint the Sax Institute to undertake a review which formed the basis of the NSW framework, questioning the “validity and reliability” of the evidence they used to support the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for children and young people.
The NSW government framework for gender diverse health services was released in July to guide treatment and care decisions by NSW Health clinicians, private clinicians, GPs, trans and gender diverse young people, and address the growing demand in NSW for expert clinical care for trans young people. The medical and health professionals said the framework was “flawed” and could cause “unnecessary and irreversible harms” to the state’s most vulnerable young people if adopted “uncritically”.
The UK’s highly respected National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, whose guidelines are seen as the gold standard on a wide array of health issues, has undertaken reviews that cast doubt on the clinical value of puberty blockers and questioned the safety and effectiveness of gender-affirming hormones.
Yet Australia’s major children’s hospitals have refused to examine their own policies and administration of puberty blockers to children in the wake of the international developments.