Christian Legal Centre client, Dr David Mackereth, comments on the recent news that NHS Scotland is advising GPs to prescribe cross-sex hormones on demand.
I am a medical doctor who trained in the Universities of St Andrews, and Manchester, and then qualified in 1988. For most of my working life I have been a middle grade in emergency medicine, and for a number of years I worked in various Scottish Hospitals.
A recent article in the Daily Telegraph pointed out the intention of both NHS Scotland, and the Deputy Chief Medical officer to require general practitioners to prescribe transgender hormones to patients before diagnosis and assessment in specialist clinics. One response has been to point out that GPs are not trained to assess and manage such patients.
This has been interpreted as meaning that these powerful medications are to be prescribed more or less on demand to adult patients. The article also points out the rapidly increasing number of such patients who are self-diagnosing gender dysphoria.
The implications: gender-on-demand
This is an example of doctors being used as tools of the state for the purposes of political activism. It is not long since the Scottish Government was pushing for individuals to be able to self-identify their sex, but this appears to have been postponed. This new medicine is surely a political move and is based on a political ideology, not sound practices of evidence based medicine; not evidence based, but politically based medicine.
It is also true that untrained clinicians will potentially harm individuals with potentially life changing drugs that may also be irreversible, but the implications go much further than that.
Doctors are going to be used to bring about a social revolution. Gender-on-demand. This therefore is not an example of proper, conscientious, ethical, medical practice in action.
The implications for a society of self-identification of sex are likely to be profoundly significant, and far reaching. We all need to consider this. Denial of the scientific fact of biological sex, and its replacement with so many new ‘genders’, has the effect of dehumanising us all. Being biologically male and female is fundamental to what it means to us that we are human.
If we adopt this new approach, we and those around us, and our children, and future generations will have to live with the consequences. A society that is not stronger, but utterly confused, and in which men and women are no longer valued for who they really are. Where gender confusion prevails, we become objects who are open to exploitation by the highest bidder.
It is quite probable that many more persons will declare themselves to be a different sex. There is a generation being taught in the schools that gender is only assigned at birth, and that they are now free to choose their own. At a time when there are too few doctors, what therefore is really important? Is it saving lives, or is it pandering to gender preferences? Is that why we hauled ourselves through the rigours of a medical training?
What kind of doctors?
We trained so that we could serve our patients. We had a model of sickness and people. We understood that the first thing was to make an accurate diagnosis, and then apply a proven remedy. There is nothing scientific about the gender ideology that GPs in Scotland are now being asked to promote.
Some of you will know that I have a well-publicised court case, arising from the issue of the use of transgender pronouns in medical practice. The question is whether doctors can be forced by the government to go against conscience in order to promote a false ideology?
My reasons for taking this ethical stand are related to my Christian faith, but also, and equally to the certain knowledge that it is medically impossible for a person to change sex.
How is sex as a biological fact taught in our medical schools now? It is impossible to teach medical science if we do so from a new gender starting point. To learn medicine you have to start with the biological fact of male and female and hold to it all the way through. If we don’t, and teach the new ideology, medicine will soon return to the dark ages scientifically.
As doctors we are called upon to practice evidence based medicine, but this movement is not evidenced at all. No one through the use of hormones can change sex.
We are also being led as clinicians, to the affirmative model of transgender management, which, in my opinion, tends to say something like “all your problems are due the fact that you are in the wrong body, and transitioning is the answer.” In the affirmative model, no questions get asked. Yet people may have many other problems which they blame on feelings of being trapped in the wrong body, which is in fact a wrong diagnosis. I believe that GPs will be pushed to affirm, without questioning, the gender assertions of each individual patient. There are real dangers to the individual here.
If I were to practice medicine in such a way, I would want absolute scientific proof that a person can change sex as the only grounds for my therapeutic application.
A call to inaction
It used to be said that all that was needed for evil to flourish was that good men should do nothing. Today what is needed to actually avoid such danger, is for good doctors to do nothing.
Doctors must refuse to do what the NHS is telling them to do. They must refuse to become political patsies. They must reject the potentially good money that might be on offer from the government to undertake this work. In good conscience, doctors must rise up and say “No!”
As doctors who care for our patients and believe in a scientific approach to medical practice, we must reject being used in this way, which is so damaging to the whole of society.
We need to stand up for what is right, and ethical, and logical, and safe, for the sake of the wellbeing of our patients, and the survival of evidence based medicine, practiced with integrity.
We need to demand a far higher burden of evidence relating to the belief that sex is a mutable characteristic of humankind.
It is high time that we as a profession stood up and said what we all know with no reserve, and that is that a person cannot change sex. No matter how hard we try!
The future of medicine, and of civilisation depends up it.