FSRH statement: Data shows deep impact of COVID-19 on access to contraception in the community
Date: 10 Mar 2021
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) welcomes provisional statistics on contraceptive provision in community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) services, which show a steep fall in access to emergency and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), the most effective methods of contraception, throughout the pandemic.
The data release, by NHS Digital, is an additional collection covering April to September 2020. It has been conducted in order to provide an early picture at a national and local level of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on contraception provision during 2020. It shows:
- 37% fall in contraception-related contacts with SRH services compared to April – September 2019 - this is a fall of 249,927 contacts
- Overall contacts including for other SRH care have fallen by 35% in the same period
- Uptake of LARC has fallen to 43%, down from 46% in 2019/20
- 53% fall in emergency contraceptive items provided by SRH services compared to the same time period in 2019
- 44% of contacts were non-face to face compared to 3% in 2019/20
Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, (FSRH), said:
‘We welcome the publication of provisional statistics on contraceptive provision in community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) services. Whilst the data does not cover all settings where contraception is provided, it does paint a stark picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to essential women’s healthcare.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way women can access contraception. As our own members’ survey has also shown, despite tireless work by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to guarantee minimum levels of provision, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit community contraceptive services hard. Waiting lists for LARCs, the most effective methods of contraception, have grown longer and longer.
‘The pandemic has highlighted that contraceptive services need sustainable investment. The redeployment of staff from already understaffed Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare clinics has resulted in service closures, and clinicians are concerned that vulnerable patients are no longer able to access the care that they need.
‘COVID-19 will put unprecedented financial pressure on public service budgets for years to come. In light of this future strain, we urge the Department of Health and Social Care to support the restoration of community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare services, and to work with the Treasury to find a long-term solution to fully fund Public Health beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.’
For further information, please contact: Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org / 07379408587
Notes to Editors
- The provisional NHS Digital data on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services, England (Contraception) April - September 2020 can be found here
- 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 BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.