NHS England is proposing that puberty blockers only be available to trans youth through a mandatory, long-term research study – and only to a small group of people.
They have put this idea out for consultation, meaning that the public (you!) can provide feedback. This is a window in which change is possible, but only with public pressure.
Access to healthcare is a basic right. Healthcare for trans children and young people in England is already extremely limited, with a 5+ year wait list and appointments virtually at a standstill this year.
This is why we need to act now.
How you can take action
You can take action to ensure trans children and young people can access the care they need, by responding to NHS England’s consultation. The consultation closes on Wednesday 1 November.
We need as many of us to speak out as possible, so that NHS England will hear our community’s voices.
The consultation is formed of five questions, all of which are optional. So whether you have five minutes or five hours spare, you can make a difference.
We’ve suggested three changes to the proposal, to help you fill out the consultation.
1. Puberty blockers should be available to anyone who needs them
There’s growing evidence showing the benefits of young people using puberty blockers. The effects are reversible, and they encourage positive mental health and social wellbeing for trans young people.
Not only this, but many young people are satisfied with blockers as a treatment, and see them as “essential and life saving”.
Puberty blockers have been used to treat early puberty in children, adults as part of treatment for some hormone-dependent cancers, and for conditions such as endometriosis. They have been prescribed to trans young people since 1988.
2. Research should be voluntary, and not required for access to treatment
While further research into trans people’s health is helpful and welcome, there’s already lots of research on the impact of puberty blockers on young people.
Our ask is that any research is voluntary. Access to puberty blockers should not be dependent on taking part in research.
3. Research should be open to all
Under the current proposal, the research will not even be open to all trans young people. Young people will need to have a diagnosis of ‘‘early-onset gender dysphoria’.
Who fits into this made-up category is not clear, and this approach ignores the diversity of trans experiences and needs. Our ask is that any research is open to anyone who would benefit from access to puberty blockers.
Together, we can make change
The most important question to respond to is:
5. Are there any changes or additions you think need to be made to this policy?
Together, we can shape a world where everyone has timely access to the healthcare they deserve.
Respond to NHS England’s consultation, and help us make change today.
We’ve published our own response to the consultation, going into more detail on these recommended changes.