Women are to be given birth control pills and implants from pharmacists under new NHS plans
Women can get birth control pills and implants direct from their pharmacist under new NHS plans.
The proposals mean women can access it without having to see a doctor first.
Current rules mean pharmacists cannot prescribe birth control pills, insert an implant or conduct an annual birth control pill review, but this would change under the proposed measures, which are currently being tested. If approved, they could be launched in England later this year.
A spokesman for NHS England said The Independent The program is still being negotiated with the pharmacy sector and it is “a bit premature” to discuss plans until they are agreed.
It comes after reports that women are facing long delays in accessing long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs or the implant. Research exclusively shared with The Independent last year found nearly a third of the women who sought them out during the pandemic were unable to.
A remote sexual health testing service called Preventx, which surveyed 500 women trying to get access to long-acting contraceptives, found about three in 10 women couldn’t get them in the past year.
Of those women, seven percent said their inability to conceive led them to turn to abortion services, while 12 percent said they had been forced to take the morning-after pill.
Katherine O’Brien of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a leading UK abortion provider, said The Independent they welcomed the new proposals.
She added: “However, it is unclear how many pharmacies will offer these services and certainly some will be limited by practicality and lack of space. For example, will there be a room that offers the level of privacy required for performance? very intimate procedures?
“In the meantime, there is a simple intervention that could dramatically improve women’s ability to access contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy — for the Drugs and Health Products Regulatory Agency to reclassify emergency contraception so that it can be used directly.” can be sold off the shelf as it is in many other European countries and in the USA.
“This would allow pharmacists to focus their expertise on those who want additional support and other birth control methods such as long-acting reversible contraceptives.”
dr Janet Barter, president of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Medicine (FSRH), said she “fully supports” the plans but warned pharmacists they need proper funding for them.
She added: “The fragmented sexual and reproductive health care system is notoriously difficult for women to navigate, and successive cuts in public health budgets have made it even more difficult for women to access the contraceptives they need.”
“This move will give women easier access to essential contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancies and could also ease unnecessary pressure on GPs. However, women must always be able to choose where to seek treatment so that access to contraception is increased rather than further restricted.”
dr Barter argued that pharmacies could “play an increased role” in the delivery of sexual and reproductive health care services.
The pandemic has deeply disrupted sexual health clinics, with services forced to close clinics or run reduced clinics while staff have been redeployed to work with Covid patients or forced to self-isolate.
This resulted in women struggling to receive the coil or implant as they required in-person appointments, which were largely suspended as consultations were conducted remotely via phone or video call.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/implants-women-pharmacists-contraceptive-pill-b2300526.html Women are to be given birth control pills and implants from pharmacists under new NHS plans