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Latest 26 March 2021

NHS England must reverse ban on new prescriptions of puberty blockers

Following the decision by the High Court earlier today, lawyers for Good Law Project have written urgently to NHS England requiring that it reverses the ban it introduced following the decision in Bell on new NHS prescriptions of puberty blockers. If it does not, further judicial review proceedings will follow. 

The Judgment made it clear that, where a clinician at the Tavistock is of the view a trans child will benefit from puberty blockers, parents have the right to consent on behalf of the child.  In light of this, it would clearly be unlawful to continue to prevent new patients from receiving puberty blockers. The rationale for the ban that was introduced following Bell – no one but the Court can validly give consent – has entirely fallen away. 

This could not be more urgent. 

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Trans children have been denied puberty blockers since 1 December 2020. The consequence is that hundreds or thousands of children have experienced permanent and irreversible changes to their bodies, changes inconsistent with their gender, which will require serious surgery to ameliorate and which have caused very real distress.

NHS England moved with surprising haste to introduce the ban when the Bell judgment was handed down. We see no reason why it should not move equally promptly to remove it now the rationale for the ban has fallen away. 

We have given NHS England 7 days to confirm that, in cases where there is parental consent, changes will be made to the Service Specification to remove the need for the Tavistock to go to court in all existing cases – and to allow new cases to commence treatment.  

We are publishing our letter to NHS England in full and will let you know when we receive a response.

The work undertaken by Good Law Project, advised by its Trans Advisory Group, relies on your financial support. If you feel inclined to support it you can do so here.