HC Deb 20 November 2000 vol 357 cc47-8W
Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to make emergency contraception available from(a) community pharmacists and (b) school nurses.[137742]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 13 November 2000]: An application has been received to reclassify levonorgestrel 0.75mg (marketed as Levonelle—2) for emergency contraception from prescription only to pharmacy availability for women aged 16 and over. Public consultation was completed on 30 June. The application has now been considered by the Medicines Commission. If we decide to proceed, an Order will be laid shortly.

In addition there are pilot schemes running whereby emergency contraception is issued by pharmacists under National Health Service arrangement using patient group direction.

Sex and Relationship Education Guidance issued by the Department for Education and Employment in July this year states that health professionals can provide pupils with specific and up-to-date information about sexual health and contraception. Health professionals can also play an important part in ensuring young people know about their local advice services. The specific role of school nurses in providing services to young people is at the discretion of school governing bodies, in consultation with parents and the school community.