Letter to Penny Mordaunt MP re Advisory Panel on LGBT Health

Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP,  Minister for Women and Equalities

Government Equalities Office, 16-20 Great Smith Street,  SW1P 3BT

21 March 2019

Dear Minister

We welcome the appointment of a National Adviser for LGBT Health in the NHS, and the creation of an Advisory Panel that will “focus on key issues such as conversion therapy…” 1

Conversion therapy has been a particular concern for counsellors and psychotherapists for many years. The ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK’ emerged from 10 years of debate informed by LGBT+ people and groups, engaging 11 therapy bodies, the NHS, the Royal College of GP’s, The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists, and supported by Stonewall. 2

We are therefore astonished and alarmed that there are no therapists on the Advisory Panel, a particularly striking omission for a group with an explicit focus on conversion therapy.

We request urgent information on the reasoning behind excluding therapists from the Advisory Panel. 

We strongly urge the National Advisor, the Advisory Panel and the government to immediately bring therapist knowledge and skill to the Panel. 

The exclusion of therapists from a group that has been created to ‘focus on key issues such as conversion therapy’ leaves the Advisory Panel open to accusations of ignorance of the significance of therapy for LGBT Health, and of gullibility. The setting up of Advisory Panels is an established way for powerful groups to enact a pretence of interest and concern.

Sincerely,

Bea Millar,

Chair, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility       www.pcsr.org.uk