News items from April

Better access to birth control would reduce stress on global resources

as reported by Nigel Hawkes in the BMJ. The rich should consume less and the poor should procreate less, says the Royal Society in a new report. The report was produced by a working party chaired by John Sulston, who headed the UK part of the Human Genome Project, and took 21 months to research and write.

Morning after pill courier service launched

A new service allows women (living in London) to order emergency contraception on the internet, so it arrives within two hours, rather than having to see their GP to obtain the drugs. For £20, women can order the drug by filling out an online form through the internet medical practice DrEd.com. The forms, which ask users to confirm they are aged over 18, will be assessed by doctors before pills are dispatched by courier. Currently they only offer Levonelle®, which can also be purchased in advance and by buying 2 packets for £24.00 at a saving of 37%.

Pharmacists should provide oral contraceptive services, says NHS report

As reported by Jacqui Wise in the BMJ:
“A report from NHS South East London has recommended that trained community pharmacists provide oral contraceptive consultation services after a successful pilot scheme to widen access to contraception.  The part of the report that has received the most media coverage is a recommendation to “consider providing the service to women under 16 years where appropriate.” The report said that this may help reduce numbers of teenage pregnancies.”

Brook and fpa respond to proposal to introduce contraceptive pill in pharmacies

Responding to the proposal that the contraceptive pill should be available from pharmacies without a prescription to young people, including those under 16, the chief executives of Brook and FPA, Simon Blake and Julie Bentley said: “The majority of young people under 16 are not having sex, however we must ensure that those who are can access support and services when they need to. “Although Brook and FPA welcome proposals which could increase young people’s access to sexual health services and information, all the necessary safeguards must be in place to ensure young people can get the information and support they need. “This includes pharmacists having the appropriate clinical knowledge about contraception, being able to communicate effectively with young people, having the right type of environment including a confidential space, as well as the appropriate support and referral networks.”

Egg-Sharing in Fertility Treatment

Evaluating egg-sharing: new findings on old debates – as reported in BioNews
Egg-sharing refers to a scheme where a woman undergoing fertility treatment donates a portion of her eggs to an anonymously matched recipient in exchange for a reduction in treatment costs. As a very specific form of egg donation, egg-sharing has generated heated debate since its introduction in the UK in 1998. While proponents argue it provides a win-win solution, allowing two women to help each other conceive, critics talk of the potential ethical and psychological consequences. Until recently, there has been very little empirical data to inform these discussions. However, new research conducted by Gurtin and Golombok at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research, in collaboration with the London Women’s Clinic, hopes to redress this balance.

Men’s health expert presents to Members of European Parliament

A leading men’s health expert presented a report detailing the health challenges facing men across Europe MEPs and key European decision-makers at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Professor Alan White, Director of the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University was commissioned by the European Commission to produce a report which gives the first complete picture of the breadth of issues affecting men’s health across Europe.  Professor White brought together 36 leading researchers from 34 countries across Europe to undertake the research which highlights the state of men’s health in Europe as a serious public health concern. more info

Faculty Consultations

The CEU Guideline on “Barrier Methods-Contraception and STI prevention” is for consultation until 21st May. see FSRH website:

BASHH Mentoring Group is currently seeking new members:

BASHH would like new representatives to support coordination of mentors and mentees within North West regions and Wales. The successful candidates would also be involved in the activities that the Mentoring Group is currently taking forward nationally. Closing date for applications: 16th May 2012.  see BASHH website for more details

And finally – we hear reports that Virgin Care have obtained ‘preferred bidder’ status in the tender to run West Sussex sexual health services .

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