NHS Bans Puberty Blockers for Children Citing Lack of Evidence on Safety

According to the NHS and health experts, there is “not enough evidence” to show that puberty blockers in children are safe enough to be prescribed by the NHS, resulting in a ban.

NHS Implements Ban on Puberty Blockers for Children

Children under the age of 18 will no longer receive puberty blockers through NHS prescriptions due to there being “not enough evidence” to suggest they are safe. Instead, they will only be available as part of clinical trials to ensure the safety of those wishing to change the natural course of their puberty.

The NHS has described the decision as a landmark move in the “best interests” of children, stressing the importance of evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria.

“We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of puberty-suppressing hormones to make the treatment routinely available at this time,” the NHS said in a statement.

This decision stems from recommendations made by a review led by Dr Hilary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, due to concerns about health effects.

Long-Term Health Effects

Concerns were raised about the potential long-term effects of puberty blockers on adolescent brain development. Dr Hilary Cass’s interim report highlighted “gaps in evidence” regarding the safety of puberty blockers, calling for a transformation in care models for gender-related distress.

Puberty blockers work by suppressing puberty hormones and temporarily halting the physical changes associated with puberty, which could cause complications if the child were to change their decision down the line.

Maria Caulfield, the Health Minister, argued, “We have always been clear that children’s safety and wellbeing is paramount,” welcoming the “landmark” decision by the NHS.

Call for Evidence-Based Approach

Caulfield called for evidence-based healthcare, insisting that banning puberty blockers on prescription would “help ensure that care is based on evidence” for the “best interests” of the child. Other advocates for evidence-based healthcare, like Maya Forstater from Sex Matters, have welcomed the NHS decision.

According to Forstater, “Many have been calling on the NHS for years now to return to an evidence-based approach,” to treat gender dysphoria.

Forstater argued that there is “not enough evidence” to suggest that puberty blockers are effective or safe when treating gender dysphoria in children.

Former PM Calls For Extension

Former Prime Minister Lizz Truss said “I welcome the NHS’s decision” and called for an extension of the ban to private healthcare practices. Truss urged the government to “back” her proposed “Bill on Friday which will reinforce this in law and also prevent these drugs being supplied privately.”

John Stewart, a director at NHS England, revealed there were mixed opinions on the matter when it was brought up for consultation. Stewart revealed, “Given that the debate is often very polarized, so too were the responses to the consultation.”

According to Stewart, “many” of the 4000 responses the consultation received argued that the new policy “didn’t go far enough” and should ban them further, as Truss believes.Despite this, many also believed that these puberty blockers “should be routinely available to everyone who believes they need it.”

The ban has divided people on the situation, with many believing that puberty blockers are essential for treating gender dysphoria regardless of the potential long-term health effects.

The post NHS Bans Puberty Blockers for Children Citing Lack of Evidence on Safety first appeared on Pulse365.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images.

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