Kids, 13, get morning after pill access

CHILDREN as young as 13 will be able to get free access to the morning after pill in north Essex without their parents or their doctor being informed, it has emerged.

Roddy Ashworth

CHILDREN as young as 13 will be able to get free access to the morning after pill in north Essex without their parents or their doctor being informed, it has emerged.

The move will see around 80% of high street chemists in the area being allowed to dispense the emergency contraception provided staff believe the recipients understand what they are doing.

Pharmacies will also be able to give out pregnancy testing kits and are already able to hand out free condoms to youngsters.


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NHS North East Essex has brought in the measure as part of its battle against sexually transmitted diseases - especially Chlamydia - and teenage pregnancies.

It is hoped that sexually active children will use the services during the Christmas party season.

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Paul Breame, head of medicines management at NHS North East Essex, said: “This latest initiative means the vast majority of our community pharmacies can now offer a full package of sexual health services, making access to these services easier than ever. “This is particularly important with the festive party season looming fast.

“These pharmacies are already offering free Chlamydia testing and treatment to 15-24-year-olds.

“The other part of the sexual health package available through participating pharmacies is free condoms for the under-20s via the Essex C-Card scheme.

“We believe if young people take advantage of this package of services, we can go a long way to addressing the local issues of Chlamydia and teenage pregnancies.”

North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin said he recognised there were some dilemmas in operating the scheme.

But he added: “I think we are in such a mess and I would not rush to judgement about any of these proposals, although if I was the parent of a 13-year-old girl who had been given the morning after pill without my knowing I would be extremely concerned.

“These measures do seem to be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

“I know that people are worried that somehow handing out contraception is encouraging people to have sex, but I have seen no evidence that these people wouldn't have sex anyway.

“The problem is that the consequences of teenage pregnancies are probably far worse, both for the unfortunate mother and for the child.”

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