The Department of Health and Social Care notes the petition’s call for the banning of medical intervention to change gender, whether surgical or by the administration of sex-changing hormones, for people below the age of 18.
With regard to young people’s consent to these procedures and treatment, the department’s position is that patients have a fundamental legal and ethical right to determine what happens to their own bodies. Valid consent to treatment is therefore central to all forms of healthcare, from providing personal care to undertaking major surgery.
If children have the capacity to give consent for themselves, then consent should be sought direct from them. Once 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.