On the Agenda: School birth control service defended

On the agenda: school birth control service defended
On the agenda: school birth control service defended

In a nutshell

Solent NHS Trust, in partnership with nine Southampton schools, launched an initiative in 2009 offering sexual health advice and contraception to drive down teenage pregnancies. The debate was reignited last week when a mother complained that her 13-year-old daughter had a contraceptive implant fitted at school without her consent.

About the implants

Nexplanon is the only contraceptive implant available in the UK. A 4cm flexible tube is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It releases the hormone progesterone, which prevents the release of an egg. Implants must be replaced after three years.

The case for and against

The mother said the practice was 'morally wrong' and has been backed by the Family Education Trust. The NHS trust said it had a duty to ensure young people had access to confidential professional advice and information, as well as contraception and screening where appropriate. Southampton has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK. Pregnancy rates have fallen since the service was launched.

PR strategy

NHS Southampton and Solent NHS Trust in-house comms teams jointly issued a statement on 7 February broadly defining the scope of the service provided.

Media coverage

The story was covered widely, including by the Daily Echo, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, BBC South Today, BBC Radio 5Live, ITV and regional and trade publications.

In numbers

4,900 Number of young people under the age of 16 who have had implants fitted

22% Percentage by which teenage pregnancies have dropped since the service was started.

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