The government has brought in an emergency ban on private prescribing of puberty blockers to children and young people.

Earlier this year, NHS England banned routine prescription of puberty blockers on the NHS for children with gender dysphoria, after a working group found there is not sufficient evidence to support their ‘safety or clinical effectiveness’.

The government said it had also introduced ‘indefinite restrictions’ on the prescribing of puberty blockers within NHS primary care.

Now, the government has introduced regulations which apply to all UK private prescribers, as well as prescribers registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

The emergency ban, which will last from 3 June and 3 September, will mean that no new patients under 18 will be prescribed these medicines as treatment for gender dysphoria.

However, patients who are already being treated with puberty blockers can continue to access them.

Under the regulations, puberty blockers are defined as ‘gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues’, which are medicines consisting of buserelin, gonadorelin, goserelin, leuprorelin acetate, naferelin or triptorelin.

Patients can also continue to access these medicines if it is for a ‘purpose other than treatment for the purpose of puberty suppression in respect of either or a combination of gender dysphoria and gender incongruence’, the emergency ban said.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said these new regulations will ‘address risks to patient safety’.

This ban will apply across England, Wales and Scotland, and DHSC has encouraged patients seeking further information to speak to their doctor.

The Cass Review, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to make recommendations on services provided to children and young people who are exploring their gender identity or experiencing gender incongruence, recently said that clarity was needed for pharmacists around dispensing privately prescribed puberty suppressing hormones.