NHS says most children who identify as transgender are going through a phase

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The NHS has said most children who believe they are transgender are going through a phase. NHS England has announced plans for tightening controls on the treatment of under-18s who question their gender.

They include a ban on prescribing puberty blockers outside strict clinical trials.

England’s NHS says the interim Cass Report advises that even social transition, which can include changing a young person’s name and pronouns, is not a neutral act, adding it could have a significant impact in terms of a young person’s psychological functioning.

Some parent groups and professionals have previously raised concerns NHS medics have taken an affirmative approach to treating children.

The proposals add that the clinical approach to children who have not reached puberty will reflect evidence that in most cases “gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence”.

Dr Cass published an interim report in February in which she outlined her initial findings and advice.

She highlighted the need to urgently move away from the current model of a sole provider towards establishing regional services which are led by specialist children’s hospitals.

One service will be based in London and led by a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital and Evelina London Children’s Hospital with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust providing mental health support.

A second service will be based in northwest England, led by Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

A Stonewall Spokesperson said: “Trans young people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, at all times. It’s important that guidance on trans healthcare follows international best practice, which includes ensuring all trans and gender diverse young people are supported to be themselves”.

An NHS spokesperson said: “In response to interim advice from Dr Hillary Cass, the NHS is asking for views on an interim proposal for gender services which will ensure children and young people continue to receive safe, responsive care over the coming year, following the planned closure of the GIDS clinic at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

“The NHS will consult on a final proposal for children’s gender services following the final report from the Cass review.”

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