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Children will not be prescribed puberty blockers

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Children will not be prescribed puberty blockers

Children will no longer be prescribed puberty blockers at gender identity clinics, NHS England has confirmed.

The Government said it welcomed the “landmark decision”, adding it would help ensure care is based on evidence and is in the “best interests of the child”.

Puberty blockers, which pause the physical changes of puberty such as breast development or facial hair, will now only be available to children as part of clinical research trials.

The NHS England policy document, published on Tuesday, said: “We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of (puberty blockers) to make the treatment routinely available at this time.”

It follows a public consultation on the issue and an interim policy, and comes after NHS England commissioned an independent review in 2020 of gender identity services for children under 18.

That review, led by Dr Hilary Cass, followed a sharp rise in referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which is closing at the end of March.

In 2021/22, there were over 5,000 referrals to Gids, compared to just under 250 a decade earlier.

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