Puberty Blockers

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the Northern Ireland Assembly am 2:45 pm ar 15 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP 2:45, 15 Ebrill 2024

Puberty blockers are only available on NHS prescription for those under-18s who were accepted onto the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust's Knowing our Identity endocrine pathway prior to March 2020 and remain on it. In March 2020, following consultation with the clinical ethics committee, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, in liaison with the then Health and Social Care Board, amended the service specification, which meant that new referrals after that date would no longer have access to the endocrine pathway. That was due to challenges in the adult gender identity service, given that there was no readily available appropriate transition pathway for young people at age 18 to allow for the safe continuation of endocrine treatment.

My officials have been working with the gender identity service pathway review group and the gender identity service liaison panel, which includes clinical, managerial and service user representation, to develop the gender identity service. At the liaison panel's next quarterly meeting, which is due to be held in June 2024, its members will have the opportunity to discuss in detail the ban on puberty blockers by NHS England.