Yesterday saw the release of the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on SRH in the UK following an investigation into restrictions to access of contraceptive services in the UK. Their report: ‘ Healthy Women Healthy Lives’ shows evidence of women being actively restricted from services and methods, with the over 25s bearing the brunt.
The Inquiry also expressed grave concerns about the fragmentation of NHS contraceptive services which, they concluded, are lacking in the effective strategic forward planning needed for when local authorities take ownership in 2013. “Many of the restrictions we found during the Inquiry shocked us,” said Baroness Gould of Potternewton, Chair of the APPG.
Evidence was submitted from service users, sexual health clinicians, sexual health charities, a GP and the Shadow Public Health Minister. Following its Inquiry, the APPG has asked the Government to consider its report and publish a response.
In gathering evidence, the Inquiry uncovered restrictions imposed by primary care trusts on contraceptive services. These include:
- Stopping the over 25s from using community contraception clinics.
- Making referrals for long-acting reversible methods of contraception (LARCs) ‘GP only’ (so women cannot self-refer as is currently common practice).
- Running contraceptive services on a residents-only basis.
- Only allowing the over 25s to get oral contraception (i.e. the pill) from a GP (not a clinic).
Several areas such as Harringey, Walthamstow, Bristol and Derbyshire were singled out in the report for placing restrictions on services.
The report’s findings should be particularly embarrassing for the UK in light of efforts to address the appalling situation worldwide for women as
Today sees the 2012 Global summit on Family Planning
organised by the UK Govenment Dept for International Development with the Gates Foundation the aim of this groundbreaking effort is to make affordable, lifesaving contraceptives, information, services, and supplies available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.
The summit’s vision is to ensure women in developing countries can have the same freedom to access family planning services – without coercion, discrimination and violence – as women in the developed world.
Governments, civil society and communities will be called on to tackle the many barriers which prevent women and girls using family planning, such as a lack of contraceptives, lack of money and lack of support from their husbands. More