London: Alarmed at the growing number of unwanted pregnancies in teenage British girls, the department of health has issued new guidelines for schools to give free morning-after pills and condoms to teenage girls.
According to new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), under-25s should be able to access emergency contraception more readily, including pills and the IUD (intrauterine device, or coil).
The new guidance aims to reduce unwanted pregnancies by ensuring that young people have access to a full range of contraceptive methods, not just pills and condoms, but the longer-acting methods such as contraceptive injections and implants.
Nurses, including school nurses, and pharmacists should be given the ability to dispense free emergency contraceptive pills in accordance with patient group directions (PGDs), Nice said in a statement.
“Young women must be told of places they can obtain free, confidential pregnancy tests with same-day results,” it added.
They should also be encouraged to consider and choose a suitable form of contraception for their future needs.
Regarding under-16s, health professionals providing emergency contraception must be aware that they can give it to under-16s “without parental knowledge or consent, in accordance with best practice guidance”.
“It is really important that sexual health services offering information and advice can be found in places where young people have access to them,” professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health at Nice, was quoted as saying.
Condoms should always be provided in addition to other forms of contraception to cut the rate of sexually-transmitted infections, Nice suggested.