The prescription of puberty blockers in Scotland has been paused following a review into gender care.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has said they have contacted patients to advise that the prescription of puberty hormone suppressants and gender-affirming hormones to young people has been halted.

It comes following research findings from NHS England and the publication of the Cass Review.

The health board has said, on clinical advice, both NHSGGC and NHS Lothian have deferred starting new patients on these treatments in mid-March in response to the position taken by NHS England and while the publication of the Cass Review was awaited.

Following the publication of the Cass Review and having also received the support of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Sir Gregor Smith, the health boards formally paused treatment.

The NHS has said patients have now been formally notified of the change while they work with the Scottish Government to engage in research with NHS England that will generate evidence of safety and long-term impact for the therapies.

Meanwhile, existing patients who are currently receiving hormone suppressants or gender-affirming hormones are not affected by this pause.

These patients will continue on treatment with close monitoring and support, as they wish to and as guided by individual clinical assessments within each service.

Dr Emilia Crighton, NHSGGC Director of Public Health said: “The findings informing the Cass Review are important, and we have reviewed the impact on our clinical pathways.

"The next step from here is to work with the Scottish Government and academic partners to generate evidence that enables us to deliver safe care for our patients.

“We echo the views of Dr Hilary Cass that toxicity around public debate is impacting the lives of young people seeking the care of our service and does not serve the teams working hard to care and support them.

“We understand the distress that gender incongruence can cause and, while all referrals to endocrinology are paused, we will continue to give anyone who is referred into the Young People Gender Service the psychological support that they require while we review the pathways in line with the findings.”

Tracey Gillies, Executive Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “The Cass Review is a significant piece of work into how the NHS can better support children and young people who present with gender dysphoria. 

"Patient safety must always be our priority and it is right that we pause this treatment to allow more research to be carried out."