NHS ends ‘routine prescribing’ of puberty blockers for under-18s

NHS England has confirmed that puberty-blocking drugs will no longer be ‘routinely commissioned’ for gender-confused children.

June’s interim guidelines on the ban have now been amended and adopted as policy by NHS England on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence to support the safe or effective use of puberty suppressing hormones for under-18s.

The announcement comes following consideration of the Cass Review on clinical practice at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service.


Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “We have always been clear that children’s safety and wellbeing is paramount, so we welcome this landmark decision by the NHS.

“Ending the routine prescription of puberty blockers will help ensure that care is based on evidence, expert clinical opinion and is in the best interests of the child.”

Labour MP Rosie Duffield welcomed the fact that “these experimental and potentially catastrophically damaging and irreversible drugs” will no longer be available to gender-confused children.

And Stephanie Davies-Arai, the Director of the campaign group Transgender Trend, responded: “We hope this signals the end of what has been a medical experiment on the bodies and minds of a generation of vulnerable children.”

we welcome this landmark decision by the NHS


The controversial Tavistock clinic is due to close this year and be replaced by regional hubs which will operate under the interim guidance informed by findings from the Cass Review.

The interim service specification states: “Children, young people and their families are strongly discouraged from sourcing puberty suppressing or gender affirming hormones from unregulated sources or from on-line providers that are not regulated by UK regulatory bodies.”

Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, in partnership with mental health services, the hub’s clinical policies “should be mindful” that confusion around feelings about gender “may be a transient phase”.

NHS England states that some children and young people “may be eligible for enrolment in clinical research” that would provide access to puberty blockers and that the drugs may still be prescribed in “exceptional” circumstances.

Also see:

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Netherlands urged to rethink puberty blockers for gender-confused kids

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