UK bans private doctors from prescribing puberty blockers to minors

British and European private doctors will not be able to prescribe hormonal treatments to new patients who are not of legal age.

The British government introduced new limitations doctors’ abilities to prescribe and supply puberty-suppressing hormones to children under 18.

The ban, issued on Wednesday, will cover prescriptions written by private doctors in the United Kingdom as well as in 31 European countries, from Portugal to Finland. It will go into effect on Monday, June 3 and will last three months.

"Patients already established on these medicines by a UK prescriber for these purposes can continue to access them," the authorities explained when announcing the measure. "They will also remain available for patients receiving the drugs for other uses, from a UK-registered prescriber."

Victoria Atkins, who is in charge of the government's Health portfolio, celebrated the measure on social media, highlighting that it also included "overseas prescribers." "Our children deserve healthcare that is compassionate, caring and careful, and that is what a conservative government would deliver," she stated.

The National Health Service (NHS) stopped prescribing puberty blockers to minors after a report was released on the harmful effects that can result from this type of treatment. The research, collected in the Cass report, claims that there is insufficient evidence on the long-term results of trans treatments. 

The report’s results fueled a debate throughout the country, also leading Scotland's only gender identity clinic to announce in April that it would not provide hormonal treatments to underage patients.