Use of puberty blocker drugs on kids to be reviewed

The use of controversial hormone treatments for gender-confused children is to be reviewed, NHS England has announced.

Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, will lead a team of 20 to conduct the review.

The number of young people referred to the NHS’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) rose from 678 in 2014-15 to 2,590 in 2018-19.

Rapid increase

The NHS said the review is to form part of a wider review of gender identity services for children and expects to publish its findings later this year.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is also analysing clinical evidence to contribute to the study.

Dr Cass said: “This is a fast-developing area of medicine with emerging evidence and high public interest”.

Landmark case

It comes just days after a former transsexual joined the landmark legal case against the NHS for prescribing powerful drugs which put her on a “tortuous path”.

As a teenager, Keira Bell was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones to make her appear more masculine, but has now returned to living as a woman.

She said: “I do not believe that children and young people can consent to the use of powerful and experimental hormone drugs like I did.”

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