The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) unveiled plans on Friday to restrict the use of puberty blockers to clinical trials and to tighten control over gender transition treatments for those under the legal age.
The NHS statement clearly expressed an intention to commission puberty suppressing hormones solely as part of clinical research. The announcement is part of a 25-page guide for UK medical practitioners.
The guide outlines a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach for the NHS to assess and address individual needs. The primary focus will be on the active involvement of both the young person experiencing gender incongruence and their family.
“A significant proportion of children and young people who are concerned about, or distressed by, issues of gender incongruence experience coexisting mental health, neuro-developmental and/or personal, family or social complexities in their lives. The relationship between these presentations and gender incongruence may not be readily apparent and will often require careful exploration,” the report states.
The NHS acknowledges the rising prevalence of mental health needs and neurodevelopmental disorders among young people grappling with gender dysphoria.
The new protocols stipulate that direct assessments for conditions like autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, among other neurodiverse conditions, are included in a minor's treatment plan for addressing gender dysphoria.
Children previously treated with puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones will undergo a case-by-case review by their healthcare providers. The NHS strongly advises against sourcing puberty suppressing or gender-affirming hormones from unregulated or online providers not under the jurisdiction of UK regulatory bodies.
This move mirrors actions by Republicans in states such as Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida and other conservative lawmakers who have been pushing similar bans on gender-transitioning medicine for minors.