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FSRH Statement on latest UKHSA and OHID Sexual and Reproductive Health profile statistics
Posted 8 February 2023
Date: 08 Feb 2023
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
Statistics released this week by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) show that although demand for Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is increasing, provision has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The statistics show that demand for LARC has increased since 2019, with 37.3% of women aged under 25 and 53.4% of women aged over 25 citing a form of LARC* as their main method of contraception at SRH services. This is a significant rise in demand – an increase of 35.1% for under 25s and 22.8% for over 25s since 2019.
However, as demand rises, provision of LARC within SRH services and GP practices has not yet returned to even pre-pandemic levels. The latest statistics show that although total LARC provision has increased since 2020 to 41.8 per 1,000 in 2021** this is still significantly lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 rates at 50.8 per 1,000. SRH services are struggling to meet demand in particular, with a reported 22.6% decrease in the rate of LARC provision at 16.1 per 1,000 in 2021.
The reduced provision of LARC within GP practices is disproportionately affecting women from deprived backgrounds – with a lower LARC prescription rate to women in the most and second most deprived deciles (17.1 per 1,000 and 15.0 per 1,000 respectively) in comparison to the average rate.
UKHSA and OHID also released new data regarding abortion rates in under 25s. Statistics show that the rate of repeat abortions in under 25s has increased to 29.7% in 2021, from 29.2% in 2020. Similarly to LARC provision, repeat abortions in under 25s has disproportionately affected individuals from a deprived background.
Dr Janet Barter, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) said:
“It is concerning to see that Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) provision is not yet back at even pre-pandemic levels, despite increasing demand. Access to the full range of contraceptive methods, including LARC, is a fundamental right. A combination of funding cuts and fragmented commissioning services means that care is not structured around women’s needs, negatively affecting access to essential healthcare."
"We need integrated and holistic SRH services which support everyone – especially underserved groups such as those from ethnic minority groups and lower socio-economic backgrounds – to make the best choices for their reproductive health, across their life course. We hope to see the Government prioritise the unmet need for contraception and adequately resource SRH services as part of the SRH Action Plan”.
**Provision data includes GP Practices and SRH Services
The latest OHID data can be found here.
UKHSA/OHID SRH Profile rates have been calculated using the England resident female population aged 15-44 data as obtained in the 2021 Census data.
For further information, please contact: Lorna Kelly, External Affairs Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the leader in the field of sexual and reproductive healthcare, and we are the voice for professionals working in this area. As a multi-disciplinary professional membership organisation, we set clinical guidance and standards, provide training and lifelong education, and champion safe and effective sexual and reproductive healthcare across the life course for all.