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National Health Service England Ceases Puberty Blocker Prescriptions

BlogNational Health Service England Ceases Puberty Blocker Prescriptions

National Health Service England Ceases Puberty Blocker Prescriptions England has stated that puberty blockers would no longer be regularly supplied to children at gender identity clinics. Following a review, it was determined that there was “not enough evidence” to support their safety or effectiveness.

The use of puberty blockers, which stop the physical changes associated with puberty, will henceforth only be permitted in research.

It occurs a few weeks before the publication of an impartial assessment of gender identity services in England.

Dr. Hilary Cass’s interim review report, which was released in 2022, had earlier concluded that there were “gaps in evidence” about the medications and advocated for a change in the care strategy for kids experiencing gender-related discomfort.

Dr. Cass’s study comes after a dramatic spike in referrals to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (Gids), which went from receiving 250 referrals year to over 5,000 in 2022.

Puberty supressing hormones, sometimes referred to as puberty blockers, limit the production of hormones that trigger puberty. They are frequently provided to children who are unsure of their gender in order to prevent bodily changes like the growth of breasts or facial hair.

The National Health Service (NHS) currently prescribes puberty blockers to less than 100 young kids in England. All of them will be able to carry on with their care.

NHS England last year adopted an interim guideline stating that they should only be supplied as part of research trials or in “exceptional circumstances” after holding a public consultation on their use.

The BBC is aware that, as of Tuesday, the new policy would not permit their prescription “routinely” outside of research trials; nevertheless, on a case-by-case basis, individual practitioners may still ask to have the drugs reimbursed for patients.

End of March is when Gids is scheduled to close. Beginning in April, two brand-new NHS services in London and Liverpool will be available. Over the course of the next two years, other regional specialized centers will also open.

“We have always been clear that children’s safety and wellbeing are paramount, so we welcome this historic decision by the NHS,” stated Health Minister Maria Caulfield.

“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.”

More than 4,000 people responded to the survey on the future of gender services, with 10% coming from trans individuals and 5% from medical professionals.

NHS England’s national director of specialized commissioning, John Stewart, stated: “The responses to the consultation were highly polarised, which is understandable given the nature of the debate.”

“Many people said the policy didn’t go far enough in terms of still allowing potential access [to puberty blockers] through research, and others saying clearly they disagreed fundamentally and that these should be routinely available to everyone who believes they need it.”

According to the BBC, NHS England plans to start looking at the use of puberty blockers by December 2024, but it hasn’t decided who will be eligible to participate.

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