FSRH press statement: quarterly figures on teenage pregnancy rates show continuing but uneven progress
Date: 29 May 2019
Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements
Office for National Statistics (ONS) Q1 2018 figures on under-18 conception rates for women in England and Wales published today show good progress, but regional health inequalities persist.
Pregnancy rates to women aged 15-17 in England have fallen by 9.1% in comparison to January-March 2017 according to quarterly data released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). There has been a decline from a rate of 18.6 per 1,000 young females in Q1 2017 to 16.9 in Q1 2018.
However, as seen previously, regional inequalities persist. Progress has been uneven among regions, and decreases vary from 3.3% in Yorkshire and Humber to 19.6% in London. The East Midlands shows an increase of 1.1% in teenage pregnancy rates.
Along with regional inequalities, there has been a marked decrease in access to sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services by young people. According to NHS Digital data on SRH services, the number of under-18 females attending these services to access contraception has fallen by 38% between 2017/18 and 2014/15. The number of young women attending SRH services to access emergency contraception has fallen by 35% in the same period, despite the fact that more young women access emergency contraception through a SRH service compared to other age groups.
Dr Jane Dickson, Vice President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“The continuous decline in teenage pregnancy rates is very welcome, but it is clear that we need action on regional inequalities.
“Access to contraceptive services is essential to support young people to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
“Cuts to contraceptive services risk deepening regional inequalities and reversing the significant progress made in the last decade to lower historically high teenage pregnancy rates.
“Key to address these inequalities will be the proper funding of Public Health services in the upcoming Spending Review.”
Notes to editors:
- Office for National Statistics Quarterly Conceptions to Women Aged Under 18, England and Wales 2018 data available here
- Data by NHS Digital on Sexual and Reproductive Health services for 2014/15 can be found here and for 2017/18 here
- There are several evidence-based resources to help local areas sustain progress and narrow inequalities, published by Public Health England (PHE) and co-badged with the Local Government Association (LGA). The Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Framework sets out the ten key factors for an effective local programme and includes a self-assessment to collate a summary of the current situation, identify gaps and agree priority actions. The Prevention Framework is a companion document to the Framework for Supporting Teenage Mothers and Young Fathers which promotes a multi-agency approach to a coordinated care pathway for young parents. The Framework has just been updated with the latest statistics, research, policy links and useful resources.
- 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.
For further information please contact:
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Manager