FSRH press statement: release of ONS quarterly under-18 conception rates in England and Wales

Posted 31 August 2018

Date: 31 Aug 2018

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

FSRH welcomes the publication of the ONS’ quarterly statistics on conceptions for women aged under 18 in England and Wales (April - June 2017).

Overall the data shows a continuous decline in under 18 conceptions, including a decrease in rates from 19.3 to 18.5 per 1,000 in comparison to the same quarter last year. Within the same time frame, under 18 conception rates for England alone have experienced a 5.7% reduction with figures reducing from 19.3 (4,355 conceptions) in to 18.2 (4,030 conceptions). It is good to see the continuing decline in teenage pregnancy rates. This is testimony to the hard work of local councils and practitioners, and to the effectiveness of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

 

While a continuing decline is welcome, it is important to note that in the North West of England, teenage pregnancies continue to rise, with the region showing an increase of 8.8%. To underline further inequality, there is still a significant amount of further regional variation, with decreases ranging from 1.3% in the South East to 15.6% in the East Midlands.

Such unevenness highlights that there is no room for complacency, with teenage pregnancy rates remaining higher than comparable countries in Western Europe. The Local Government Association and Public Health England have produced a Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Framework and Teenage Parent Support Framework, both should help underpin targeted efforts. However, continuing cuts to the funding of local Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) services risk undermining and hindering such efforts. This would jeopardise the progress that has been made and further exacerbate the uneven picture displayed. 

It is vital that any approach geared at reducing teenage pregnancy focuses on reducing cuts to services, and empowering young people with the knowledge and skills they deserve to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Evidence shows that age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) plays a key role in enabling young people to feel confident about their choices in sexual relationships, including understanding what method of contraceptive care may best suit their needs. The FSRH, in our submission to the Government’s consultation on RSE, called for a curriculum based on unbiased and medically accurate information to enable such confidence.

Jane Hatfield, FSRH Chief Executive, said:

“The continued success in reducing the (historically very high) teenage pregnancy rates demonstrates what can be done when government and others focus together on achieving a goal over a number of years. It is so important that these efforts are maintained – underpinned by the introduction of effective relationship education in all our schools”.

Ends
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG. Charity No. 1019969.

Notes to editors:

  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. For more information please visit: www.fsrh.org
  • Office of National Statistics, Quarterly Conceptions to Women Aged Under 18, England and Wales June 2017 - The full data set is here.
  • For further information please contact: 
    Harry Walker
    Head of External Affairs & Standards 
    Email: externalaffairshead@fsrh.org
    Telephone: 020 3751 8077