HC Deb 27 April 1998 vol 311 cc49-50W
Mr. Trickett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proportion of teenagers seek birth control advice on matters for which advice is available only from the family general practitioner; [38282]

(2) what guidance the Government have given on the availability of birth control advice to teenagers. [38322]

Ms Jowell

There are no aspects of birth control advice available only from general practitioners.

In 1996–97, the number of first contacts by females under 16 for family planning services at family planning clinics was 60,390. The number of females under 16 receiving ordinary contraceptive services who are registered with general medical practitioners was 26,521.

The Department provides funding to Brook Advisory Centres, the major source of advice for young people and also sponsors the Sexwise phoneline which provides confidential advice to enable young people to make informed and responsible decisions about sex and personal relationships. The service is complementary to that provided by Brook.

Confidentiality is of particular importance to young people. Existing guidance to regions (HC(86)1) is contained in Guidelines for reviewing family planning services issued in January 1992. In addition we are funding a Brook project which will include work on the dissemination of good practice information.

We are developing a practical programme of action which will lead to the launch of a National Programme on Reducing the Rate of Teenage Conceptions later this year. Part of the programme will involve the further development of information, advice, counselling and contraception services to meet the needs of young people.

Mr. Trickett

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the Government give to district health authorities on the availability of birth control advice; and if it is the Government's policy that such advice should be available from a number of sources in addition to the family GP. [38298]

Ms Jowell

The Department's guidance on family planning services is set out in HSG(92)6 "Guidelines for reviewing family planning services: Guidance for Regions", copies of which are in the Library. The guidance states that specialist family planning clinic services should complement those provided by general practitioners and asks health authorities to consider the best way to integrate the two to ensure a comprehensive and effective range of family planning service is provided to local populations.