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RCOG statement on Brook/FPA report on cuts to sexual health services

News 30 January 2013

Commissioned by Brook and Family Planning Association (FPA), this new report Unprotected Nation looks at how NHS efficiency savings in contraception and sexual health services could cost the NHS more in the long term. Cuts to services may lead to an increase in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), says the report.

According to the report, there could be an additional £298.6 million in NHS health costs between 2013 and 2020, resulting from an increasing number of unintended pregnancies, the restriction of sexual health services could also lead to an extra 91,620 STIs per year by 2020 and increased infection rates alone could place an additional cumulative burden of £314 million on the NHS by 2020.

In addition, it states that NHS cuts could saddle the UK with an £136.7 billion bill for health, education, housing and social care costs by 2020 due to the subsequent increased live birth rate.

Dr Tony Falconer, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says:

“It is essential that women requiring contraception have access to high quality comprehensive contraceptive care. This must include the provision of a range of methods that are tailored to the needs of individual women. Access to contraceptive services must include emergency contraception and long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) which offer women greater protection against unplanned pregnancy. In addition to high quality care provided in general practice, open access specialist services are required to meet the needs of all women.

“We welcome the recent cross-party parliamentary report into unplanned pregnancy and the recommendation to increase the number of professionals who are trained to provide contraceptive advice and care.

“In addition, better sex and relationship education (SRE) in the national curriculum is vital to help prevent both unplanned pregnancies and STIs.”

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