HEALTH bosses have been accused of denying a trans teenager his “ray of hope” by blocking him from hormone therapy amid major changes to transgender health care in Scotland.

Sam Clair said the decision by the Sandyford clinic to deny hormone therapy to her 16-year-old son Lee had taken away “one of the only things he could cling onto”.

The 41-year-old mother of two said she had expected her son to be given hormone therapy after years without “certainty”.

She was informed of the decision as the Sandyford clinic announced it was pausing prescribing puberty blockers to trans children and also stopping hormone treatments for under-18s.

The National: The Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow is the only place in Scotland which provides trans healthcare

Sam, a mental health nurse, said her son viewed hormone therapy as a “ray of hope” and added that it was “really one of the only things at the moment in his life that he could cling onto”.

Lee is taught at home because he suffers from such acute social anxiety he is unable to attend school and rarely leaves the family’s home in Edinburgh, said Sam.

She added: “He feels like he is going to go out into this world after being quite isolated and the first thing that people are going to see is a girl.”

READ MORE: Prescription of puberty blockers 'paused' in Scotland for under-18s

Lee feels he would be unable to “build on anything from that starting point” of being perceived as a girl, she added.

Sam told how her son experiences intense gender dysphoria – where transgender people feel upset by their bodies because they do not align with their gender identity – to a “physical” extent and spoke about seeing him “cringe” at his own body.

She added: “I’ve cradled him many, many times when it’s become so overwhelming that he just can’t bear it.”

Describing Lee as “really, really smart” and artistic, Sam spoke about Lee’s ambitions to go to art school once he finished school, something she fears may be jeopardised by his inability to get speedy access to gender identity care.

She described how Lee had gone through intense and “intrusive” scrutiny to be considered for hormone therapy, likening interviews with clinicians as akin to her son being “put on trial”.

Lee had been through a “horrendous few years”, she added, before it seemed he would be approved for hormone treatment and has contemplated suicide.

The Sandyford’s decision to block access to hormone therapy and puberty blockers to under-18s comes in the wake of the Cass Review, a major study of trans healthcare.

The National:

It recommended a raft of measures including improved mental health treatment for trans young people but has drawn criticism from some because of its cautious approach to pharmaceutical interventions.

Sam said she felt the country’s attitude towards trans people had changed radically in the last year, adding: “Having a trans child is scary, it is really scary because of that hostility.”

She went on: “We don’t know what things are going to be like in another year's time.

"Things have snowballed so drastically in the last year in terms of the narrative and dialogue. There’s nothing at all that I take for granted.”

“I used to think that I lived in a really progressive country.”

READ MORE: Young trans people in Scotland 'much less happy now than 10 years ago', survey finds

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the health board responsible for the Sandyford clinic, said it would not comment on individual cases.

Dr Emilia Crighton, the board’s 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.

The National: Dr Hilary Cass has published her long-awaited report into gender services for children in the NHS (Yui Mok/PA)

“We echo the views of Dr Hilary Cass [above] 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.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories call for ‘urgent’ action from NHS Scotland following Cass Review

“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, the executive medical director of 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.”