“The review group’s role is not to endorse or refuse treatment…” 

The NHS England will reportedly introduce a new independent review group to assess puberty blocker prescriptions.

The news comes after a March ruling, which gave parents the ability to give consent regarding gender-affirming treatments for their child.

In a statement from the NHS, the organization gave details on the group and what families can expect from the interim changes.

“As an interim measure, and in direct response to the Court’s suggestion that additional safeguards may be warranted, a new independent multidisciplinary professional review group will be established to confirm decision-making has followed a robust process,” the NHS England stated.

“This group will be comprised of health and care professionals with expertise in child development, neurodevelopment and mental health, assessing capacity and consent, and safeguarding processes.”

The review group will not have the power to refuse treatment and will only be used for patients under the age of 16-years-old.

If the review group approves of a family’s decision-making process, then the group will not “require” court involvement.

But if the group “raises concerns” regarding the patient and their family’s decision-making process, they will require Tavistock “to see the best interest decision from the court.”

NHS England also revealed that the interim process will be used for new transgender patients once the Tavistock clinic resumes accepting referrals.

Since the announcement, Tavistock and Portman Trust released a statement accepting the new rules.

“We will be working with NHS England on the implications of these changes for patients currently in treatment and new referrals, and will issue more information about this as soon as we are able,” they said.

There is no exact start date to when these rules will be put in place, but NHS England has stated they “will keep stakeholders updated as this interim review group develops.”

The topic of puberty blockers and gender-affirming treatments for under-16s has been heavily debated over the years.

In December, the High Court ruled that children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are ‘unlikely’ to be mature enough to provide consent.

The controversial ruling was made in regards to a case between Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers aged 16 before detransitioning.

Due to the court’s decision, many LGBTQ+ activists worried about how transgender children would be affected.

The ruling also left medical professionals and families confused in regards to the subject of consent.

This led to the March ruling that gave parents the ability to give consent with “additional safeguards.”

Related: Parents of transgender children can now give consent for the use of puberty blockers