Puberty blockers paused for under-18s in Scotland

Scotland’s only youth gender clinic has paused prescribing puberty blockers for under-18s.

Prescriptions for under-18s currently on the waiting list are to be blocked following the decision by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).

The Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow also said that patients aged 16 and up would no longer receive hormone treatments until they are 18.

The decision comes following a similar decision by NHS England last month after just over a week after the publication of the Cass report last week, which made recommendations to change NHS England’s approach to trans youth care.

The report, which was commissioned in 2020 and headed by paediatrician expert DR Hilary Cass, emphasised “extreme caution” in prescribing puberty blockers to under-18s.

Puberty blockers are a physically reversible medical treatment that stop certain hormones from being produced and suppresses unwanted aspects of puberty.

NHSGGC said in a statement to BBC News that the decision had been made following a position taken by the board, as well as NHS England and NHS Lothian.

Trans people and allies hold up signs calling for protections for gender-affirming healthcare (including puberty blockers), trans youth and trans inclusion in sports during protest
Puberty blockers were paused for under-18s in England last month. (Getty)

The board’s director of public health, Dr Emilia Crighton, said: “The findings informing the Cass review are important, and we have reviewed the impact on our clinical pathways.

“The next step from here is to work with the Scottish government and academic partners to generate evidence that enables us to deliver safe care for our patients.”

Those who are currently prescribed puberty blockers will continue treatment, according to the new policy.

Puberty blockers are currently paused in NHS England and only prescribed through clinical trials, which the Cass report said should only be done if there is a “clear clinical rationale.”

Scottish Trans and the Equality Network spokesperson, Vic Valentine, said the decision by NHSGGC would “harm trans children and young people.”

“The decision has been taken within the context where the reality of trans people’s experiences and lives is questioned almost daily in some of the media and some political circles.

“This makes us worry that the decision has been influenced by that context rather than solely through consideration of the best interests of trans children.”