Memorandum of Understanding

We are pleased to announce that the campaign that we launched in June 2012 to effectively ban conversion therapy in the UK has achieved its first – if not yet total – victory, effectively banning conversion therapy on the NHS in England.
At a meeting convened earlier this month, 14 organisations issued a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy’ in the UK.

These include all the major professional organisations in the field:
*NHS England
*Association of Christian Counsellors (who only came out against the practice last year)
*BABCP (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psycotherapies)
*BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
*BAC (British Psychoanalytical Council)
* BPS (British Psychological Society)
* BPC (British Psychological Council)
* GLADD (Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists)
* National Counselling Society

This is the list of the fourteen organisations which signed the memorandum. It includes, crucially, the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) - a historic milestone.
This is the list of the fourteen organisations which signed the memorandum. It includes, crucially, the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) – a historic milestone.

* Pink Therapy
* Royal College of General Practitioners
* Royal College of Psychiatrists
* Relate
* UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy)

They declared that:

*Efforts to change or alter sexual orientation through psychological therapies are unethical and potentially harmful.
*That “for people who are unhappy about their sexual orientation whether heterosexual,homosexual or bisexual, there may be grounds for exploring therapeutical options to enable them to live more comfortably with it, reduce their distress and reach a greater degree of acceptance of their sexual orientation.”
*The public must be protected from conversion therapy because it does not work and can do harm.

They pledged that:

* They will not offer such treatment
* They will not refer patients for such treatment (this includes referral by GPs – a major problem in the past).
*There must be continued and improved professional development in these areas so that patients can be HELPED rather than harmed
*That there will be continuous scrutiny of developments and that their members and the public will be involved and informed

Above all, they pledged that the public must be protected from the harmful practice of conversion therapy; and that effective therapies must help people be happy with their sexuality.

Message of Support from Diana Johnson MP

Since the inception of our campaign in 2012 Diana has been exemplary in supporting our campaign. She sent in a statement regarding the memorandum of understanding:

“NHS England’s recent statement against conversion therapy is a really positive step forward. I am also glad that it has been co-signed by a huge range of other professional organisations.

Diana speaking in the House of Commons.
Diana speaking in the House of Commons.

“People in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community need to be confident that they can get NHS care which helps rather than hurts them.

“Attempts to change their sexuality are not only ineffective, but potentially extremely harmful. So I am very glad that NHS England has now confirmed they won’t refer patients to conversion therapists.

“We shouldn’t forget that the campaign to get the government to do something about this abhorrent practice started in Hull. I hope their statement will give LGBT people at least some reassurance that they’ll get proper treatment on the NHS.

“But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: much more still need to be done. For one, we need to make sure this message reaches down across the NHS and therapy sector. And we need much more investment in dedicated LGBT-friendly treatment.”

For details of the part played by Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network, please see our campaign timeline here.  For full details of the Joint Memorandum of Understanding please see here.

However, this is not total victory and there is a lot left to be achieved and we will continue our campaign. Among our aims will be:

* To see that the NHS does provide the lgbt-friendly support that is needed, especially in the area of mental health. All the evidence is that at present it fails lamentably in this area, We need money ,we need resources we need professional training and we need understanding,
* That the NHS ban is extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,
* Conversion Therapy is still legal. Quack remedies can still be offered by charlatan operators. Surely the time has come to prevent this altogether.
*Meanwhile we must at the very least ensure that all counsellors and therapists are members of a professional body . This is the only way to ensure that patients can obtain redress for malpractice and that proper professional standards are met.
*That we keep the public informed of any concerns about the ongoing practice of conversion therapy after the declaration.The consortium is undertaking a review in twelve months.
* That there is adequate public provision and funding of refuges and helplines The only LGBT Refuge supported by the tax payer-in England-was recently threatened with closure. The Albert Kennedy Trust which supports homeless LGBT youngsters should be publicly supported but one charity cannot provide all that is needed. Similarly it is madness helplines such as that provided by Broken Rainbow should face closure because of the lack of funds.

So as Churchill commented on VE Day in 1945, we might perhaps allow ourselves a brief moment of rejoicing at our victory. We thank all those who have contributed towards it. But there are many battles still to be fought. and we need your continued support.

By Colin Livett, 28th Jan 2015


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