Give contraceptive pill without prescription26th April 2012
A new NHS report has suggested teenage girls as young as 13 should be given the contraceptive Pill without having to see a doctor.
The document, produced by NHS South East London, recommends that high street pharmacists across Britain routinely hand it out to teenagers under the legal age of consent in the hope of reducing unwanted pregnancies.
Normal practice is for girls and women to only be prescribed the Pill once they have undergone a GP or nurse consultation.
But pilot projects covering five high street pharmacies in the London districts of Southwark and Lambeth have been handing the Pill to over 16s without a doctor’s prescription and now a review has suggested the scheme should be extended across London and the rest of the country.
The NHS South East London review document, obtained by Pulse magazine, said that could include girls aged 13-16.
However, the Department of Health has said it will not issue national guidelines on the proposal and will leave any decision to implement schemes locally to individual trusts.
Contraceptive policy expert Professor David Paton from Nottingham University said that if young girls knew they could get the Pill without their parents finding out they might be more inclined to have sex.
He added: “There is clear evidence that it is unlikely to reduce teenage pregnancies. All the evidence is that greater provision has no impact on teenage pregnancies.”
Doctors, nurses and pharmacists can give the Pill to girls under the age of consent but due to patient confidentiality laws they cannot tell their parents.
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