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Christian campaign group calls for ‘full ban’ on puberty blockers amid damning report on gender care

by Heather Preston

Christian Concern says puberty blockers should be completely banned in the UK, as a new report reveals major failures in gender care for adolescents.

A landmark review into NHS gender services says children have been "let down" by a lack of research and “remarkably weak evidence" on medical interventions - including drugs that can pause puberty.

The review, published on Wednesday by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, says health professionals working in the field are often too "afraid" to express their views, due to the "toxicity" of the public debate. It found there was no substancial evidence on the long term impacts of medical interventions and has criticised the use of affirmative care – which models affirming a person in their chosen gender.

The report concluded that for most young people, medical pathways may not be the best approach to managing gender-related distress. It has called for gender care to match the standards of other NHS care services with "holistic assessments" including screening for neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, and a mental health assessment.

The Cass Review has provided 32 recommendations to reform gender services and has urged “extreme caution” in the use of masculinising or feminising hormones in children under 16-years-old.

Speaking to Premier Christian News, Tim Dieppe, head of public policy for Christian Concern said he thinks these drugs “should be banned completely”, but hopes this review will change UK practices.

“Children have been lied to. Adults have said, ‘you can be born at the wrong body, you can have these puberty blocking drugs, or sex hormone drugs, and they will solve your problems’, and they actually don't.

“I hope that politicians and NHS and so on, listen to the evidence and move away from an ideologically based system of affirming children in their transgender identity, and move into evidence based care that treats people holistically, and looks for what other mental health issues are likely associated with what's going on here.”

NHS England stopped prescribing puberty-blocking hormones to children and young people with gender dysphoria in March 2024, after concluding there was not enough evidence to support their safety or clinical effectiveness for routine treatment.

NHS England commissioned the Cass independent review in 2020, following a sharp rise in children and young people using gender services.

The four-year study found clinicians were providing early medical interventions to children, despite a lack of evidence on their long-term impacts.

"The reality is that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress," Cass said in the report forward.

The review also suggested a "more cautious approach" should be taken for children than for adolescents when it comes to social transitioning – through pronouns, name and/or clothing, warning parents against “unconsciously influencing the child's gender expression."

"Those who had socially transitioned at an earlier age and/or prior to being seen in clinic were more likely to proceed to a medical pathway."

Responding to the report, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged doctors to use "extreme caution" when dealing with young people who are questioning their gender.


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