HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 cc951-2W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the reasons for the change in the number of contraceptive injections given to school-aged girls in the last five years; [171067]

(2) what protocols apply to the giving of the contraceptive injection to school-aged girls; [171068]

(3) what the primary method of contraception was of teenage girls (a) below the age of 16 years and (b) over the age of 16 years in each of the last five years; [171069]

(4) for what reasons implants were not used as the primary method of contraception for school aged girls between 1997–98 and 1999–2000; [171221]

(5) what factors influence the decision to give a contraceptive injection rather than the contraceptive pill to school-aged girls. [172311]

Miss Melanie Johnson

There has been an increase in the use of contraceptive injections administered in family planning clinics among girls aged under 16, in the last five years. There is currently very low uptake of non-user dependent methods of contraception in women of all ages. Increasing and improving access to all methods of contraception are aims of both the teenage pregnancy strategy and the sexual health and HIV strategy, to reduce rates of unintended pregnancies.

Decisions about the most suitable type of contraception are for individuals to make in consultation with health professionals. Health professionals can provide contraception to young people under 16, working within an established legal framework, provided they are satisfied that the young person is competent to fully understand the implications of any treatment and to make a choice of the treatment involved.

The data requested on methods of contraception used by teenage girls, are published in table 2 of the statistical bulletin "NHS Contraceptive Services, England: 2002–03" and in the equivalent table in earlier bulletins, available in the Library and at: www.publications.doh.gov.uk/public/sbO315.htm www.publications.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0220.htm www.publications.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0127.htm www.publications.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0027.htm www.publications.doh.gov.uk/public/sb9930.htm

Note that these data are available for family planning clinics only. Data from general practitioners are not available by age.

The first and only available contraceptive implant product was withdrawn from use by the licence holder in 1998–99, before being replaced by another product which was licensed a 1999, hence low usage in women of all ages at that time.