The NHS has announced that The Tavistock and Portman Trust has “immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s”.
A spokesman broke the news in the wake of yesterday’s High Court ruling to protect children from ‘experimental and life changing’ transgender drugs.
He added that in future such referrals “will only be permitted where a court specifically authorises it”.
Detransitioner Keira Bell, 23, who brought the case against the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) after she was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones as a teenager said she was “delighted” by the decision.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust said it was “disappointed” by the judgment and would seek permission to appeal.
Yesterday, The Christian Institute welcomed the ruling, calling it “a win for common sense” while controversial trans activist charity Mermaids said it was a “devastating blow” and tweeted “Shame on the High Court judges”.
In a 38-page judgment, three senior High Court judges said it was “highly unlikely” children 13 and under could ever genuinely consent to hormone blockers, and “very doubtful” 14 and 15 year olds could do so.
They ruled that children need to understand “the immediate and long-term consequences of the treatment, the limited evidence available as to its efficacy or purpose, the fact that the vast majority of patients proceed to the use of cross-sex hormones, and its potential life changing consequences for a child.”
For children aged 16 and over the Court concluded: “Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment”.
It also indicated that the courts could be involved where parents dispute that treatment for gender dysphoria would be in their child’s best interests. Parental consent is currently required for under-18s seeking a body piercing or tattoo.
Bell first expressed confusion about her gender aged 14 and later had surgery to remove her breasts.
Speaking on the Today programme earlier this year, she said: “There wasn’t any in-depth investigation into my history or anything like that. So I was fairly quickly put on to the medical path.”
Expressing her regret, she explained: “It puts you on a path that changes your life forever. And when you are a minor you have no chance of understanding how that affects you and your adult life. If we put a stop to this it will allow people to grow naturally.”
She now wants gender dysphoria to be treated through mental health support instead of drugs and surgery, saying “psychological conditions need psychological treatment”.