What’s Current: NHS bans puberty blockers for youth outside clinical research

Following a public consultation and advice from Dr Hilary Cass’ Independent Review “highlighting the significant uncertainties surrounding the use of hormone treatments,” England’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced it will “only commission puberty suppressing hormones as part of clinical research.”

An NHS document explains that “there is not enough evidence to support their safety or clinical effectiveness as a routinely available treatment.”

Countries like Norway, France, Finland, and Sweden are warning against or restricting medical transition for minors. In the United States, more than 20 states have passed laws banning the use of puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones, with some making it a felony for doctors to prescribe them.

The NHS also recommends avoiding immediately “affirming” a child’s “gender identity,” explaining:

“The clinical management approach should be open to exploring all developmentally and psychosocially appropriate options for children and young people who are experiencing gender incongruence. The clinical approach should be mindful that this may be a transient phase, particularly for pre-pubertal children, and that there will be a range of pathways to support these children and young people and a range of outcomes…”

This decision does not prevent UK children and their families from obtaining puberty blockers elsewhere, but that will be “strongly discouraged,” the NHS said.

The health service’s gender identity clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman Trust, is set to close in March 2024 following Dr Cass’ review, which found the service is “unsustainable” and said a new model of care is needed.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.