NHS set to end ‘routine prescribing’ of puberty blockers for under-18s

NHS England has announced its intention not to ‘routinely commission’ puberty-blocking drugs for gender-confused children and young people.

It has launched an investigation into puberty blockers after Dr Hilary Cass highlighted significant “uncertainties” surrounding the use of the experimental drugs with youngsters suffering from gender dysphoria.

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 (GIDS).


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

A health service spokesman said: “The NHS is now engaging on the proposal that puberty blockers will not be made routinely available outside of research.

“We will develop a study into the impact of puberty blockers on gender dysphoria in children and young people with early-onset gender dysphoria, which aims to be up and running in 2024.”

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 “primary intervention” for gender-confused children and young people under the new service is to be through “psychological” support.

According to the specification, the hub’s clinical policies “should be mindful” that confusion around feelings about gender “may be a transient phase”.

It also acknowledges that a “significant proportion” of under 18s with gender dysphoria “experience coexisting mental health, neuro-developmental and/or personal, family or social complexities in their lives”.

Welcoming the news, Tavistock whistleblower Dr David Bell said: “All the evidence shows that puberty blockers don’t help, and there is clear evidence of physical and psychological harm caused by them, so this change is in line with the evidence we have.”


Despite the warnings in the interim guidance about sourcing puberty blockers from unregulated sources, the unlicensed business GenderGP continues to offer the drugs to children through its website.

Based overseas, the clinic bypasses regulatory safeguards to issue prescriptions to children in the UK via an online service.


Also see:

Gender Identity Development Service

Tavistock exposé: ‘A definitive record of what happened’

‘Ditched NHS gender clinic caused immeasurable harm to children’

NHS gender clinic for children needs ‘fundamental’ changes, review finds

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