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England health service says it will not give puberty blockers to children in gender clinics

England health service says it will not give puberty blockers to children in gender clinics


LONDON (AP) — England’s public health service has decided it will not routinely offer puberty-blocking drugs to children in gender identity clinics, saying more evidence is needed on the benefits and the potential disadvantages.

The National Health Service said on Friday that “outside of a research setting, puberty-fighting hormones should not be routinely prescribed to children and adolescents.”

People under 18 can still receive puberty blockers in exceptional circumstances, the NHS has said, and a clinical study into their impact on children is expected to start by next year.

Four new regional clinics are expected to open later this year. They replace the Gender Identity Development Service in London, previously the only facility of its type in England. It is set to close after a study found it was overburdened by growing demand and there was not enough evidence on the results of his treatment.

Hormone blockers can interrupt the development of puberty and are sometimes prescribed to children with gender dysphoria. Transgender medical care for minors has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is approved by major medical associations.

The issue of gender-affirming child care is not as hot in Britain as it is in the United States, where several Republican-led states have banned puberty blockers and other treatments for transgender minors. But this has been the subject of political and legal battles.

The NHS said the new rules were “an interim policy” which would be subject to further review, including the results of a research study into the impact of anti-puberty hormones on dysphoria. gender in children and young people.

Results published last year of a review of children’s gender services led by pediatrician Dr Hilary Cass said there were “gaps in the evidence base” on blockers.

The NHS said doctors at the new clinics would still be allowed to prescribe the drugs outside of a research setting “on an exceptional, case-by-case basis” and subject to approval by a national research team. medical experts.

The health service’s decision does not prevent children and their families from obtaining puberty blockers elsewhere, but this will be “strongly discouraged”, the NHS said.

The NHS said it recognized that once the policy was adopted it would need to end the related requirement that young people take puberty blockers for a period of time before receiving hormone treatments.

In 2020, the High Court of England ruled that it was unlikely that children under 16 would be able to give informed consent to medical treatment involving puberty-delaying drugs. The decision was overturned in 2021 by the Court of Appeal, which said doctors could prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to children under 16 without parental consent.


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