Access to over the counter contraceptives must increase
There are calls for contraceptives such as the Pill to be made available at pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor in the UK.
Under the proposal girls as young as the age of 13 would be allowed to get the Pill if they wanted to.
The suggestions have come from an NHS study that was carried out into the availability of contraceptives.
It was revealed during pilots of the proposed scheme, the demand for emergency contraception such as the morning after pill decreased dramatically.
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Specifically the NHS study looked at the success of two pilots in London, in the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, which have some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe.
NHS South East London, which was behind the research, has now recommended the scheme is rolled out across the UK to help reduce teenage pregnancies.
The thought is that young girls will feel more comfortable going to a local pharmacy to get the Pill, as they are less likely to see someone they know than they are at their local GP surgery.
The organisation said it was successful in reducing pregnancy rates in its target audience; those who had not used the Pill before and black British, African or Caribbean women aged 20 to 24.
According to NHS South East London, 46 percent of females who took advantage of the opportunity to get the Pill without prescription were first time users of oral contraception.
However, it did say: “At this stage there are no plans to extend the scheme to under 16-year-olds in Southwark or Lambeth.”
The scheme is currently available at two other locations in the UK; in Manchester and the Isle of Wight.
As part of these schemes, girls under the age of 16 will have to see a specially trained nurse before they are given the Pill.
Both caused controversy when they were introduced and the recent NHS study has sparked a similar response.
Speaking to BBC News, Dr Peter Saunders from the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “There is no clear evidence from this study that it will reduce unplanned pregnancy and abortion and there is a real risk that, by encouraging more risk-taking behaviour, it could fuel the epidemic of sexually transmitted disease.
“Without comprehensive research on real outcomes this strategy could well be like pouring petrol on flames.
“We should instead be focusing on evidence-based strategies aimed at bringing about real behaviour change."
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