Making doctors aware of new government regulations: restrictions on the use of puberty suppressing hormones

The UK government has introduced emergency regulations to restrict new prescribing of puberty suppressing hormones for the treatment of gender incongruence or gender dysphoria in children and young people who are under 18 years of age in England, Wales and Scotland.Patients already established on these medicines by a UK prescriber for these purposes can continue to access them. They will also remain available for patients receiving the drugs for other uses, from a UK-registered prescriber.

What does the legislation mean?

The regulations mean that as of 3 June until 3 September, no new patients under 18 can receive private prescriptions of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues for the purposes of puberty suppression in those experiencing gender dysphoria or incongruence.

The legislation applies to prescriptions written by UK private prescribers and prescribers registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Additionally, from 26 June 2024 there will be an indefinite restriction on General Practitioners (GPs) in England - whether in NHS or private practice - supplying prescriptions for GnRH analogues, except in the following circumstances:

  • The patient is aged 18 years or over; or
  • The patient is under 18 years old, and the purpose of the prescription is for a medical condition other than gender incongruence or gender dysphoria; or
  • The patient is under 18 years old and has started treatment with these medicines, and for these purposes they will be treated as having started treatment if they have been issued with a prescription for these medicines since 3 December 2023, even if they have not yet started taking the medicines.

NHSE has also produced guidance for prescribers, pharmacists and dispensing doctors.

We encourage doctors, where relevant, to familiarise themselves with these new arrangements.