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'Alarming’ figures on young people’s sexual health highlight need for better access to education

“Today’s findings are really alarming and highlight the genuine need for better access to good, sensible, sexual health education for everyone – including contraception and the potentially terrible impact of STIs - so we’re pleased that Public Health England is tackling the issue head on.

“The figures prove that we need urgent investment in sexual and reproductive health services in the community, both to protect the health of young people and to ensure progress that has been made over recent years is not reversed.

“Since 1998 the teen pregnancy rate in England and Wales has halved, but the College is greatly concerned rates of teenage pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases will rise unless more is done to reduce the barriers patients face to accessing contraceptives and other sexual health services.

“Our report, Time to Act, found that fragmented commissioning practices mean that GPs are increasingly unable to direct patients to the most appropriate sexual health services for their needs, and GPs are not being given adequate training to administer all different types of contraception that might benefit patients.

“In this day and age all patients have the right to be provided with sufficient information to make the choice of contraception that is right for them, and be able to access that method without having to negotiate unnecessary hurdles – and GPs and our teams have the right to be properly trained and receive adequate recompense for carrying out these services.

“As one of the most cost-effective services we provide, sexual and reproductive health must not become the ‘Cinderella’ service of the NHS, especially when it has the potential to save the NHS millions through the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and transmission of STIs, as well as playing such a vital role in helping women control their fertility and therefore their lives.”

@rcgp

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