Fall in abortion rates continues
Abortions carried out on women living in England and Wales fell 2.5% to 185,122 last year, Department of Health figures show.
For women aged 15-44, the abortion rate was down 5.4% to 16.5 per 1,000 women – the lowest since 1997.
From information included in abortion forms in 2012, almost half were medically-induced using drugs as opposed to surgery – similar to 2011.
Among under-18s, the abortion rate continued to fall last year.
The number of teenagers having abortions has been on a downward trend for the past five years. Between 2011 and 2012, the under-18 abortion rate fell again from 15 to 12.8 per 1,000.
The Department of Health report on the 2012 statistics said that 91% of abortions were carried out before the 13th week of pregnancy.
It also noted that fewer abortions were carried out on women from other countries, such as Ireland, than in any year since 1969.
Last year, non-residents accounted for 5,850 abortions.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said the drop in the number of teenagers experiencing an unwanted pregnancy could reflect improvements in access to contraception for young people.
In older age groups the fall in abortions could indicate that women are better able to avoid unplanned pregnancy in the first place, it said.
DH publishes “Integrated Sexual Health Services : National Service Specification”
This national service specification is provided to help local authorities to commission effective,high-quality, integrated sexual health care . It covers the rationale for commissioning effective and easy to access services and the objectives of service provision, key outcomes to consider, a description of what should be offered at various levels of service, professional and other quality standards covering sexual health, and the need to work in partnership with other services such as termination of pregnancy, general practice, and mental health services.
National curriculum review
From February to April a public consultation on the government’s proposal for the reform of the national curriculum in England was launched. The DfE has published the consultation report and government response. Having considered the responses to the consultation the government has published updated versions of the national curriculum framework and is now seeking feedback on this – deadline 8th August.
Responding to the publication Jules Hillier, Brook’s Deputy Chief Executive, said:
“Brook welcomes the inclusion of compulsory sex and relationships education in the National Curriculum, which means that secondary schools must provide young people with the education we know they very much want and need. It’s now up to schools to put this policy into action by ensuring that all children and young people are given high-quality SRE that puts young people at its heart. Getting this right will contribute to young people’s wider health and wellbeing and help them prepare for safe healthy, happy relationships. We look forward to supporting schools to do this.”
PRAC recommendation on Diane 35 and generics
The European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has concluded that the benefits of Diane 35 (cyproterone acetate 2 mg / ethinylestradiol 35 micrograms) and its generics outweigh the risks in a specific patient group, provided that several measures are taken to minimise the risk of thromboembolism, including new contraindications and warnings.
The Committee adopted the recommendation following a thorough review in which it sought expert advice and considered feedback from healthcare professionals and users of these medicines.