The UK’s Morning After Pill Capital Announced
The Debrief: St Helen’s in Merseyside is the place where most girls under 16 are getting the pill from their GPs, and that’s a good thing…
The morning after pill isn’t many people’s idea of a good time, but sometimes – if you’ve messed up by not using a condom, or the condom broke, or it didn’t even break but you don’t EXACTLY remember what happened and just want peace of mind – it’s necessary. And isn’t it great that a woman can control over what happens in her body?
That’s why St. Helen’s, near Liverpool, being the morning after pill capital of the UK isn’t a bad thing at all.
The number of girls aged 13-15 using the morning after pill in St Helen’s, is proportionally, seven times that of the national average. True numbers – everywhere, not just Liverpool – are obviously much higher, as these figures are only for the emergency contraception picked up from NHS clinics, not the GP surgeries and pharmacies it can also be obtained from.
Liz Gaulton, St Helen’s council’s director of public health has put the high uptake of the morning after pill – 59 for every 1,000 girls in the area from 2014-2015 (that’s just 5.9% of all girls) – down to the sex education in schools and youth-friendly clinics. As well as use of the morning-after pill going up, abortion rates have got lower and teenage pregnancies have fallen to an all-time low!
Keeping young people safe and supporting them to make informed, healthy choices are priority themes within the multi-agency Sexual Health Strategy in St Helens.
‘A number of measures are in place, from relationship and sex education in schools to one-to-one support in young-people friendly clinics.’ This has contributed to under-18 conception rates in St Helens falling to an all-time low – and the proportion of under-16 conceptions that leads to abortions is the lowest in the North West.’
She told the Liverpool Echo that it’s useless to compare St. Helen’s to other places in the UK, because ‘not all areas have access to such flexible, thriving community services’.
Let’s hope the rest of the country’s health directors can follow by example – it’s hardly bad that sexually active teenagers are being responsible, is it?
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