Morning-after pill 'should be offered in advance'

Young women should be given access to the morning-after pill to keep at home in case they need it, a watchdog said today.

Pharmacies in particular are being targeted as places where the under-25s can get emergency contraception in advance, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which published the guidelines.

It is the first time Nice has called for such a move as part of a bid to improve access to all types of contraception.

It said young men and women should also be able to access contraception, including condoms "in a range of types and sizes", at convenient locations, such as schools and youth clubs.

The draft guidance comes just hours after the UK's first TV commercial for abortion services was screened.

The ad for unplanned pregnancy and abortion advice at Marie Stopes clinics has sparked controversy, including opposition from the charity Life, which has written to Ofcom about the issue.

Today's Nice guidance said doctors, nurses and pharmacies should "ensure all young women are able to obtain free emergency hormonal contraception, including advance provision".

But staff are also told to encourage young women to discuss their contraceptive needs, and offer them a range of choices, including long-acting contraceptives such as jabs.

Young women should be "advised that emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is used" while an intrauterine device is more effective in an emergency but can also be used long-term, Nice said.

Young women should also be "given information about the limitations of emergency hormonal contraception as a primary method".

The guidance says all sexual health bodies which provide contraception should endeavour to offer young people a full range, at convenient opening times.

On condoms, it said health workers should "encourage all young people to use condoms and lubricant in every sexual encounter, irrespective of their other contraceptive choices, because condoms help to prevent the transmission of sexually-transmitted infections".

It added: "Condoms should be provided alongside other methods of contraception."

Research has shown that while most young women use at least one method of contraception, abortion rates have increased since 1999.

Just under half of all pregnancies among 15 to 18-year-olds lead to an abortion.

The guidance focuses on socially disadvantaged young people, including teenage parents, those living in areas with high levels of deprivation, some minority ethnic groups and young offenders.

Dr Gillian Leng, Nice deputy chief executive, said: "Although this guidance focuses on socially disadvantaged young people, key recommendations are also relevant to all young people, regardless of their background.

"This draft guidance responds to a real need to improve existing contraceptive services, making it easier for young people, especially the most disadvantaged, to get the right information, advice and treatment at the right time."

The guidance said contraception and sexual health services should be established at "convenient, accessible locations such as city centres, colleges and schools so that no young person is denied services because of where they live".

Penny Barber, chief executive of the Brook advisory centre in Birmingham, helped draft the guidance, which is open to consultation.

She said: "We know emergency contraception is more effective the sooner you use it after sex so it's crucial young women have it on hand in case they need it.

"Evidence demonstrates that making emergency contraception available in advance does not change the amount of sex young people have."

According to Nice, it is not currently common practice for the morning-after pill to be given out in advance for young women to store at home.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there