WQ92475 (e) Tabled on 19/04/2024

What is the Cabinet Secretary doing to avoid a two-tier system of access to puberty blocking drugs via private doctors, for example any guidance for private practices and information sharing with relevant UK Government departments and law enforcement?

Answered by Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care | Answered on 30/04/2024

Like other areas of healthcare people can choose to access treatment from private practitioners. The Cass Review found that the evidence for the use of puberty blockers in gender dysphoria is lacking, so the NHS has decided not to use them routinely for this indication.

All prescribers must adhere to professional standards regarding safeguarding which will be enforced by their professional regulator.

In private practice it would be for the prescribing clinician, and ultimately their professional regulator to consider the evidence available to them in the context of their professional standards and enforce those standards accordingly.

In terms of pharmacies dispensing private prescriptions, the General Pharmaceutical Council has provided advice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians regarding pharmaceutical care of children and young people with gender incongruence or dysphoria.

The advice makes clear it is not enough for a pharmacy to dispense a prescription simply because it is legally valid; that is just one consideration alongside others, including judgement as to whether a prescription is clinically appropriate. For prescriptions issued by non-NHS gender clinics not under the jurisdiction of UK regulators it is expected pharmacies to have taken active steps to assure themselves that all prescribers comply with relevant UK regulatory and professional guidance.