Update on gender identity development service for children and young people

The NHS updates nationally commissioned services every few years. In 2016 NHS England put in place a new service specification for gender identity development services for children and young people and committed to conducting a review of this specification and associated policies for 2020.

Gender identity development services help to support young people and their families, and usually include counselling and psychological support, and in some cases can include the prescribing of puberty suppressants and, from around 16, cross-sex hormones.

Independent review of puberty suppressants and cross sex hormones

To support this planned review, an independent expert group is being established to make recommendations on the evidence, that will support a review of puberty suppressants and cross-sex hormones and whether changes are required to existing clinical policies that underpin the use of these on the NHS.

NICE will also undertake a thorough review of the latest clinical evidence to help inform the working group’s review.

Dr Hilary Cass OBE, previously a President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, has been appointed to chair the independent group.

Dr Cass said: “This is a fast-developing area of medicine with emerging evidence and high public interest.

“I look forward to chairing this independent group, bringing together medical and non-medical experts with a range of perspectives, to make evidence-based recommendations about the future use of these drugs.”

The working group will be made up of 20 members from a range of clinical and academic backgrounds and will include members of the public. We will provide an update on the full membership shortly. The review and consideration of the evidence base is expected to complete later in the year.

Full clinical guideline

To inform the review of the wider service specification, we have asked NICE to develop guidance that will help identify when to refer children and young people to specialist services.

The wider service specification for gender identity services for children and young people will reflect the outcomes of both reviews.

Patients, families, experts and interested parties will be invited to comment on a draft specification.

More information on the commissioning of gender dysphoria services is available at on our website.