Puberty-suppressing Hormones

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 21 March 2024.

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The First Minister:

Meghan Gallacher read out my response to her the last time round. My position has not changed one iota. I still believe that clinical experts in Scotland should be the ones who determine whether puberty blockers are prescribed. That is the sensible position, as opposed to politicians demanding what clinical treatment should be. It should be for the clinical experts.

On the study that is taking place, I referenced in my response to Meghan Gallacher’s first question that we are engaging with the study that is taking place. The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland are well engaged with NHS England on its planned study into the use of puberty blockers in young people’s gender identity healthcare. We are observers to that study, and that remains a work in progress. We are considering what future engagement in that research might be possible.

I go back to the point that I have already made to Meghan Gallacher that it is for clinicians to make those judgments. It is right that we trust our clinicians in their expert decision making. Regarding the studies that are taking place in England, I am more than happy to confirm that we are observers. We are keeping close to NHS England, and we will continue to do so as the study develops.