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Teen pregnancies fall due to contraceptive scheme

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UNINTENDED teenage pregnancies have fallen after the launch of a contraception scheme.

HSC president Heidi Soulsby. (Picture by Adrian Miller 25032664)

Employment & Social Security has worked with Health & Social Care to make a full range of contraceptive services, such as the combined pill and condoms, available free of charge for women under the age of 21 to support a reduction in unintended teenage pregnancies.

Early results showed a two-thirds reduction in under-18 conceptions.

The sexual health strategy programme had an initial 50% reduction aim in under-18 conceptions by 2023 to eight conceptions per 1,000.

The projected total for the first full year of 2018, in which free under-21 contraception has been available, shows a predicted 75% reduction in under-18 maternity bookings when compared with the two years prior to the introduction of the scheme.

Committee for Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby said: ‘Early results show that implementation of a programme of free contraception for the Bailiwick has resulted in a very significant decrease in the number of young women under the age of 18 years booking at our maternity services.

‘I am therefore very pleased with these early results and hope that this will impact on the health and wellbeing of islanders for many years to come.’

During the 2013-2015 period there were 51 under-18 conceptions in Guernsey and Alderney, averaging as 17 per year, equating to a rate of 16.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-17. Some 45% of these conceptions ended in a termination. In contrast, the rate in Jersey was 6.8 per 1,000 women, which is significantly lower. These rates were measured when Jersey had free contraceptive provision for under-21s in 2013-2015.

From December 2017, women under the age of 21 in Guernsey and Alderney have been able to access free contraceptive provision through their GP in their island, Choices or the Orchard Centre. Services are centred around the service user, with young people being able to select a service of their choice.

The cost of the programme, which has now been running for just over 19 months, is £107,000 per year and is being paid from the Guernsey Health Service Fund.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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