THE prescription of puberty blocking medicines has been “paused” in Scotland for under-18s.

The Sandyford Sexual Health Clinic, the only site in Scotland which provides gender care for young people, said trans people looking to take puberty blockers will not be allowed to do so until they are 18.

However, those currently taking the drugs will be allowed to continue to do so.

The board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the decision came with the support of Scotland’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith.

The news comes after the use of puberty blockers was ended for children in England following the findings of the Cass Review into trans healthcare.

READ MORE: Trans academics warn against 'politicisation' of Cass Review in Scotland

In a “important service update” on its website, the Sandyford said: “Referrals from the Sandyford Sexual Health Services to Paediatric Endocrinology for the prescription of Puberty Suppressing Hormones have been paused for any new patients assessed by our Young Person’s Gender Service.

“Patients aged 16 to 17 years old who have not been treated by Paediatric Endocrinology, but who are still seeking treatment for their gender incongruence, will no longer be prescribed gender affirming hormone treatment until they are 18 years old.

“If you are already being treated by Paediatric Endocrinology and being prescribed either of these medications, you will have been contacted and advised that there will be no change to your course of treatment. You will also have been informed that you can contact your clinician if you have any concerns.

“This service update follows research from NHS England and the publication of the Cass Review while we work with the Scottish Government to engage in research with NHS England that will generate evidence of safety and long-term impact for therapies.”

The Sandyford went on: “We are committed to providing the best possible clinical care for young people accessing and understand the distress that gender incongruence can cause.

"While this pause is in place, 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. A number of support networks are also available via Mental Health Support (

“If you’re waiting for an appointment with our service, please be assured that this service update won’t impact your position on the list.”

READ MORE: I'm black, trans and Scottish – I'm tired of being debated

Dr Emilia Crighton, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 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.”

The National: Humza Yousaf could at leastgo down in the history books as someone who tried to do the right thing

Earlier in the week, First Minister Humza Yousaf (above) did not rule out banning puberty blockers as he said the Government was considering the recommendations of the Cass Review.

The Cass Review – named after its head, Dr Hilary Cass – was released last week and found the evidence base for gender care in young people had been thin and children had been let down by a “toxic” public discourse around gender.

Yousaf spoke in favour of the Sandyford Clinic staying open. He said: “Sandyford provides, we know, some exceptional health care to some of those who are the most marginalised and vulnerable … not just young people, but we know, right across the spectrum.

“At the same time, one of the key recommendations is around perhaps more regional health centres.

“So that’s something that is worth consideration, worth exploring and we’ll take some time to consider that in relation to Dr Cass’s review.”