UK’s National Health Service to Stop Routinely Prescribing Puberty Blockers to Children

UK’s National Health Service to Stop Routinely Prescribing Puberty Blockers to Children

Britain’s National Health Service will no longer routinely prescribe puberty blockers to children amid concerns over a lack of evidence on the impact of the so-called gender-affirming drugs.

In what is being described as a historical moment, the UK’s state healthcare provider will no longer be prescribing children with life-altering puberty blockers except in exceptional cases or in the context of clinical research.

According to a report from the BBC, the decision followed a report which admitted that there were “gaps” in evidence surrounding the use of the controversial drugs on children believed to be experiencing gender dysphoria.

The change in guidance from the NHS will come into effect upon the opening of two new gender clinics later this year, which are set to replace the infamous Tavistock Centre’s Gender Identity and Development Service (GIDS). However, no patient currently being treated by GIDS will be impacted by the revised guidance.

The broadcaster went on to report that families and children will be “strongly discouraged” from seeking to acquire puberty-blocking drugs from unregulated sources or on the internet.

The decision to reverse course on the radical medical interventions was hailed as a landmark moment for safeguarding children.

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The co-founder of Thoughtful Therapists, James Esses told The Telegraph: “The fact that the NHS is holding firm on their intention to prevent the use of puberty blockers outside of the context of clinical trials is seismic.

“This will hopefully bring an end to vulnerable children being placed down a pathway to irreversible harm.”

A former governor of the Tavistock Centre, 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.

Bell, who went on to whistleblow against the organisation, added: “A very large percentage of children being treated for gender dysphoria have other problems such as autism and depression, and many are upset or confused about their sexuality.”

Last year, Bell revealed that the clinic often engaged in questionable methods of determining whether children should be recommended for hormone-altering drugs, including if girls did not show interest in “pink ribbons and dollies“.

The centre’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) has also been accused of recommending puberty-blocking drugs to children after as little as just one consultation and is currently facing legal action from over 1,000 families for allegedly misdiagnosing their children.

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The NHS also announced a clinical study on the impact of puberty-blocking drugs to be run by the recently-formed Children and Young People’s Gender Dysphoria Research and Oversight Board.

While it is expected that the research will mostly examine patient data and records, some children still may be placed on puberty blockers for research purposes.

Recently published data that examined a random selection of 312 GIDS patients at Tavistock 47 were placed on some form of hormone-suppressing drugs, or just under one in six children.

A spokesman for the NHS said on Friday: “The NHS is today publishing an interim specification for gender services for children and young people, in line with advice and recommendations from the Independent Cass Review. This will allow the new centres to finalise their preparation for service provision later this year.

“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.”

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