FSRH Statement on latest UKHSA and OHID Sexual and Reproductive Health profile statistics

Posted 6 February 2024

Date: 06 Feb 2024

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The UKHSA and OHID have published annual statistics on sexual and reproductive health, including contraceptive use. The data shows that although demand for Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is increasing, provision has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The statistics show that while the overall prescribing rate of LARCs remain below the pre-pandemic level, the proportion of LARC among all prescribed contraceptives has increased. The overall use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), excluding injections, has increased to a rate of 44.1 per 1,000 population in 2022 to 2023 compared with 41.8 per 1,000 in 2021 to 2022. 

Short acting combined oral contraceptive rates prescribed from primary care have slightly decreased from 128.3 per 1,000 in 2021 to 2022 to 117.0 per 1,000 in 2022 to 2023. Short acting combined oral contraceptive rates prescribed from SRH services have increased from 7.6 to 8.1 per 1,000 in the same period. However, the rate remains 30% below the pre-pandemic level when prescribed from primary care and 50% below the pre-pandemic level when prescribed from SRH services. 

The attendance rate for women under 25 at specialist SRH services was 84.3 per 1,000 in 2022 to 2023 and this remains below the pre-pandemic level of 133.4 per 1,000 in 2018 to 2019.  

Dr Janet Barter, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), has said:  

“We welcome the annual sexual and reproductive healthcare statistics released today by OHID and UKHSA. The figures released today show an increase in the proportion of LARC among all prescribed contraceptives, however provision has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels. 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. 

In 2022, the Government published the Women’s Health Strategy, which highlights the crucial role of contraception in high quality reproductive health. We call on the Government to take urgent action to address these barriers. In 2022, we launched the  FSRH Hatfield Vision, a framework to improve reproductive health outcomes, with clear actions which when implemented will dramatically improve access to SRH services for all women. It is crucial that everyone in need of contraception can access comprehensive care wherever and whenever they choose to”.  

The latest OHID data can be found here: Reproductive health: 2023 update - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

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.