Scotland’s Nationwide Well being Service has stopped all new prescriptions of puberty-blocking medication and different hormone remedies for minors, citing a sweeping overview of youth gender providers launched in England last week. It’s the sixth nation in Europe to restrict such remedies, and its adjustments are among the many most restrictive.

The review, commissioned by N.H.S. England and carried out by Dr. Hilary Cass, an unbiased pediatrician, over the course of 4 years, concluded that the proof for advantages of youth gender remedies was “remarkably weak” and that urgent questions remained about potential long-term dangers.

This month, following suggestions by Dr. Cass, N.H.S. England halted puberty blockers for youngsters exterior of medical trials. Hormone therapies, together with estrogen and testosterone, are nonetheless accessible to youngsters in England aged 16 and up.

Scotland’s new adjustments go additional, pausing prescriptions of puberty blockers whereas additionally proscribing hormone therapies till youngsters flip 18. The adjustments won’t have an effect on sufferers already getting these medicines from the nation’s Younger Individuals Gender Service.

“We are going to proceed to offer anybody who’s referred into the Younger Individuals Gender Service the psychological assist that they require whereas we overview the pathways in step with the findings,” mentioned Dr. Emilia Crighton, director of public well being for N.H.S. Higher Glasgow and Clyde, which homes Scotland’s sole youth gender clinic, Sandyford Sexual Well being Providers.

Involved about hovering demand for adolescent gender remedies lately, well being officers in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and England have changed nationwide well being pointers to restrict medical remedies for adolescents with gender misery, often called dysphoria.

Transgender advocacy teams in Scotland criticized the adjustments, saying they have been motivated by a rising backlash in opposition to transgender individuals.

“We’re saddened that this transformation will end in some younger individuals being unable to entry the care they want in any respect, or having to attend even longer for it,” Vic Valentine, supervisor of the advocacy group Scottish Trans, mentioned in an announcement.

Prescriptions for puberty blockers in Scotland have been “exceptionally uncommon and cautious,” resulting in lengthy ready lists, the group mentioned.

In response to public data obtained by The Guardian, the Sandyford clinic referred 71 youngsters for puberty blockers from 2016 to 2023. And BBC Scotland reported that by the top of 2023, 1,100 youngsters have been on the ready record for youth gender providers, with some ready for greater than 4 years to be seen.

In 2022, a proposed legislation that will have made it simpler for transgender individuals to alter gender markers on identification paperwork in Scotland galvanized a coalition of conservative lawmakers and feminists pushing for the exclusion of transgender girls from girls’s areas.

High well being officers in Scotland welcomed the suggestions from Dr. Cass’s overview, citing an more and more polarized debate over transgender rights that had compromised medical take care of youth.

“We agree with Dr. Hilary Cass when she highlights that ‘more and more poisonous, ideological and polarized public debate’ does nothing to serve the younger individuals accessing this care,” Neil Grey, the Scottish well being secretary, mentioned in an announcement. “They’re who must be on the heart of our ideas after we focus on this situation.”

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