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Control of Conversion Therapy

Volume 573: debated on Monday 6 January 2014

The Petition of Citizens of the UK,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease, disorder or illness and cannot therefore be “cured” or changed; and consequent upon this belief and the declarations of the professional bodies of the appropriate medical organizations, further declares that “conversion” or “reparative” therapy does not work and can do serious harm to patients.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to control “conversion” or “reparative” therapy by banning it completely for those under the age of 18 and making it available to those over the age of 18 only after informed written consent and only when carried out by a licensed medical practitioner.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Diana Johnson, Official Report, 15 July 2013; Vol. 566, c. 884.]

[P001196]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The Department does not recommend the use of conversion therapy and it is not a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended treatment. The Government have already indicated that there are no plans to introduce statutory regulation for psychotherapists. We do not believe that regulation would necessarily prevent this type of counselling in any case as it would not be dependent on the type of therapy offered.

It is for commissioners of NHS services to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination. Clinical Commissioning Groups must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Equality Act 2010.

The Department has confirmed it is working with the UK Council for Psychotherapy and NHS England on the issue to minimise the risk that lesbians, gay men and bisexual people who seek counselling about their sexuality will encounter therapists attempting to change their sexual orientation because the therapist considers that being gay is wrong.