Humza Yousaf has indicated that Scotland could soon ban puberty blockers.

The First Minister said the future use of the controversial treatment to halt the production of estrogen or testosterone in teenagers was being considered by the Scottish Government.

He promised that any appraisal would be swift.

The First Minister’s comments came as he was asked about the review by Dr Hilary Cass into how NHS England dealt with young people questioning their gender identity.

One of the central conclusions in the 400-page report was that there was no good evidence to support the practice of prescribing the medicine to under-18s.

READ MORE: Cass Review, transgender clinics, and a 'toxic' debate

Children south of the border are now no longer routinely prescribed such treatment.

A number of campaigners and politicians, including SNP MP Joanna Cherry, Alba Party MSP Ash Regan and Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher have called for a review.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday, Mr Yousaf said: “Every recommendation that Dr Cass makes will be considered as part of that consideration of the entire report including the recommendations that she makes in relation to puberty blockers, and that is one element of the recommendations that Dr Cass makes.

“There’s a number of recommendations – all of them will be given consideration.”

While the recommendation are being considered, the prescription of treatments should be one made by clinicians rather than politicians, the First Minister added.

“I promise that we won’t be taking an inordinate amount of time to consider,” he said.

“But it is right when there is a report of almost 400 pages when you include the appendices, this is a report that we should take some time over, that clinicians should take their time over when it comes to deciding the way forward for some our most vulnerable, marginalised young people.”

The Tavistock gender identity clinic in London closed earlier this year

But the First Minister said there was not a case to shut Scotland’s equivalent clinic at the Sandyford in Glasgow.

“Sandyford provides, we know, some exceptional health care to some of those who are the most marginalised and vulnerable… not just young people, but we know, right across the spectrum.

“At the same time, one of the key recommendations is around perhaps more regional health centres.

“So that’s something that is worth consideration, worth exploring and we’ll take some time to consider that in relation to Dr Cass’s review.”

READ MORE: Dani Garavelli: JK Rowling's tweets on trans community felt gratuitously cruel

During the interview, Mr Yousaf also criticised a Scottish Tory motion calling for Scotland’s new hate crime law to be repealed.

Asked if it was time to look again at the Hate Crime and Public Order Act, Mr Yousaf saif: “Not at all. I mean what we have seen with the introduction of the Hate Crime Act in the first week, in the first few days in particular, was a series I think of bad faith actors who decided to put in vexatious complaints in order to try to waste police time which is a pretty serious matter.”

Asked if the number of “vexatious” complaints was an indication that the law was too vague, the First Minister replied: “No, it’s pretty clear actually. The law, part of the law of course, the act just consolidates existing hate crime law that existed already.”

He added: “Let’s go back to why we have a Hate Crime Act. We have a Hate Crime Act because in 2021/22, we had almost 7000 reports of hate crime.

“And that’s reports of people being abused because of their race, because of the disability, because of their sexuality, because they were Jewish or Muslim, because of their religion and for a whole range of other characteristics.

Asked why biological sex was not classed as a protected characteristic, Mr Yousaf said it was a decision taken by MSPs after representations from groups including Women’s Aid, Zero Tolerance Scotland, Engender and Rape Crisis Scotland.

“They thought it was too narrow a framework to cover the very wide-ranging pervasive nature of misogyny,” he said.

“And they thought a standalone bill would be much better and of course we’ve consulted on a standalone bill and that would cover some offences that are covered by hate crime acts such as statutory aggravation, stirring up of hatred against women and girls but it goes further than that.”

Asked if a misogyny law would cover trans women, Mr Yousaf said it would “because they will often be the ones who suffer from threats of rape, for example, or threats of disfigurement”.

“It may be the case that a trans woman when for example they’re walking down the street and a threat of rape is made against them, the man who’s making the threat of rape against them doesn’t know if they’re a trans woman, they will very simply make that threat because their perception of that person is as a woman,” Mr Yousaf added.

READ MORE: Review in gender services for children has lessons for Scotland

Ms Gallacher,  said: “This interview again exposed Humza Yousaf’s painfully weak leadership.

“On the Cass Review, he failed vulnerable young people and their parents by stalling for time and passing the buck to clinicians.

“It’s not good enough to say he and health boards need more time to look at Dr Cass’s report, and it’s an abdication of leadership not to pause the prescribing of puberty blockers in the interim.

“The First Minister says a variety of options are being considered, yet guaranteeing Scottish youngsters evidence-based treatment or closing the Sandyford do not appear to be among them.

“Humza Yousaf also took no responsibility for the chaos his Hate Crime Act has created – and instead accused the public of wasting police time with vexatious complaints.

“He was warned that his flawed law would lead to a deluge of complaints – but, not only did he ignore the warnings, his SNP Government launched a £400k publicity campaign urging people to report incidents to the police. Now he has the cheek to wring his hands at the ensuing shambles.

“Humza Yousaf should be scrapping this law, rather than doubling down on it.”