Guernsey Press

Scottish health boards pause prescription of puberty blockers

The decision comes in the wake of publication of the Cass Review.


Two Scottish health boards – one of which covers the only gender clinic in the country for young people – have paused the prescription of puberty blockers to new patients.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and NHS Lothian said the decision came with the support of Scotland’s chief medical officer, Professor Sir Gregor Smith, following a review by Dr Hilary Cass in England and the same decision being taken south of the border.

NHSGGC covers Scotland’s only gender clinic for under-18s, while NHS Lothian provides care to those aged 17 and over at its Chalmers gender identity clinic.

Dr Emilia Crighton, director of public health at NHSGGC, 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.

“We echo the views of Dr Hilary Cass that toxicity around public debate is impacting the lives of young people seeking the care of our service and does not serve the teams working hard to care and support them.

The Cass Review criticised the lack of evidence around the use of puberty blockers and other medical intervention, with the health boards saying they will work with Government on research into the treatments.

Under the changes, those who have already been prescribed the drugs will continue to receive them, but new patients will not.

The boards said they had made the decision to “defer” putting new patients on hormone suppressants in mid-March following the same decision by NHS England.

Tracey Gillies, executive medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “The Cass Review is a significant piece of work into how the NHS can better support children and young people who present with gender dysphoria.

“Patient safety must always be our priority and it is right that we pause this treatment to allow more research to be carried out.”

Since the publication of the Cass Review, the Scottish Government has faced pressure to respond to its findings, with high profile politicians including SNP MP Joanna Cherry calling for the use of puberty blockers to be halted.

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