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GPhC responds to NHSE policy on puberty suppressing hormones

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GPhC responds to NHSE policy on puberty suppressing hormones


NHS England has recently published its clinical policy on puberty suppressing hormones (PSH). This sets out that PSH will not be available as a routine commissioning treatment option for children and young people in England who have gender incongruence/gender dysphoria.

Responding to the new policy, the General Pharmaceutical Council has asked that all organisations providing these types of services make sure that there are clear routes for pharmacy professionals in their country or area to refer young people for the support they may need.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “We understand that many young people experiencing gender incongruence or dysphoria are waiting for lengthy periods to be assessed or to receive treatment, and that this can have a significant negative impact on their mental health.

“It is important for pharmacy professionals to identify those who may be vulnerable, and signpost them to appropriate support services. Otherwise we’re mindful that people may try to seek alternative options such as sourcing unregulated products online or through private clinics outside of the UK which exposes them to additional risks.”

The GPhC understands that some pharmacies are being presented with prescriptions for PSH and other medications for treatment of gender incongruence that have come from prescribers working for private clinics based in Great Britain or overseas.

“We expect pharmacies to have taken active steps to assure themselves that all prescribers, including those working for private clinics based outside the UK, comply with relevant UK and national regulatory and professional guidance,” the regulator says.

In January 2023, the GPhC published an article about Gender identity and pharmaceutical care for children and young people. This has been updated to reference the new NHS England clinical policy on PSH. The regulator suggests all pharmacy professionals should re-read the article, as it provides useful advice on inclusive and compassionate care when providing any services relating to gender incongruence in children and young people.

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