Children will no longer be prescribed puberty blockers at gender identity clinics: NHS England

NHS England confirms puberty blockers will not be prescribed to children anymore
Source: Pixabay

NHS England has said that children won’t be prescribed puberty blockers at gender identity clinics anymore, Sky News reported. These blockers, which temporarily stop puberty changes like growing breasts or facial hair, will only be given to kids in clinical research studies.

NHS England’s decision on puberty blockers follows review amid surge in referrals to Gender Identity Development Service

The government supports this “landmark decision”. It will make sure kids get the best care backed by evidence and are in the “best interests of the child”.

Elon Musk also shared the announcement on X.

This decision follows a public discussion and a temporary policy. And it’s based on an independent review commissioned by NHS England in 2020. The review was prompted by a significant increase in referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).

GIDS is a specialized service for young people dealing with gender identity issues, operated by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. This clinic is closing at the end of March.

In the year 2021-22, GIDS received over 5,000 referrals. That was a sharp rise from fewer than 250 referrals a decade ago. The clinic has been under repeated examination due to these trends.

Dr. Hilary Cass, who headed the review, released a preliminary report in February 2022. She emphasized the necessity to shift from a centralized approach and proposed regional alternatives to provide improved support for children.

Additionally, she highlighted the absence of extensive evidence regarding the long-term effects on young people who are prescribed blockers. Dr. Cass mentioned that the GIDS had not systematically collected consistent data. She added that it was “not possible to accurately track the outcomes and pathways that children and young people take through the service”.

New NHS services to open after Tavistock closure

Once Tavistock closes, two new NHS services will open in early April. One will be at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and the other at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

According to the NHS, children attending these clinics will receive support from specialists in neurodiversity, pediatrics, and mental health, ensuring a holistic approach to their care.

Approximately 5,000 children and young people are currently on the waiting list to be referred to the new clinics. Additionally, there are around 250 patients expected to be transferred to them upon opening.

At present, there are fewer than 100 children receiving puberty blockers. And they will continue their treatment at Leeds and University College London Hospital.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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