Teenagers to get pill without prescription

A controversial scheme to provide over-the-counter contraceptive pills to teenagers in a bid to cut unintended pregnancies is being piloted in south London
.

Three pharmacies in Southwark and Lambeth, which have the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Britain, are piloting the year-long scheme, which will allow young women aged over 16 to access contraception without needing a prescription from a GP.

Southwark, which in 2007 had almost double the national rate of teenage pregnancies, said the aim was to "increase access to contraception for sexually active young women who are not currently using contraception, particularly those who regularly use emergency contraception."

Jo Holmes, head of primary care delivery and development at NHS Southwark, said: "We expect the pilot to help young women who have not used contraception to access it easily and safely. In turn, we hope to see a reduction in use of emergency contraception and an increase in referrals to other services offering longer-term contraception."

As part of its teenage pregnancy stategy, the Government pledged to halve the number of teenage pregnancies by 2010. In 2007, the rate of teenage pregnancies in under-18s in England was 42 out of every 1,000 girls, with around half ending in an abortion. For Southwark, the rate is 76 out of every thousand – or one in every 13 girls. Both Southwark and Lambeth aim to reduce this by 40 per cent to 60 per cent.

Despite the number of teenage pregnancies falling in many areas of Britain over the past 10 years, the UK still has some of the highest rates in Western Europe and experts warn that the Government may fail to reach its target.

Pharmacists taking part in the new pilot will undergo a three-month training course developed by doctors from Southwark PCT and King's College London over the past year.

Ridgeway pharmacy in Southwark has been offering consultations to young women visiting the pharmacy for emergency contraception over the past six weeks. The pharmacy said 50 had chosen to switch to an oral contraceptive.

Critics of the scheme doubt it would have any effect on teenage pregnancy rates. Mark Haughton, from the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: "We need to to work on the whole area of relationships – that is what is effective."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Advertising and Marketing Communications Manager

    £52000 - £58000 per annum + benefits, company car: Ashdown Group: Advertising ...

    ICT Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

    DT Design and Technology Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

    Maths Teacher

    £21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on