It will soon not be necessary to have a doctor’s prescription in the UK to get the contraceptive pill, said Lord Darzi, as he introduced a new Pilot Scheme. Women will be able to get them straight from the pharmacist. The pill has only been obtainable with a prescription in the UK. Only the morning-after-pill has been available over-the-counter.

The fpa (Family Planning Association) welcomed the news. In a written statement, the Association explained “New initiatives to improve women’s access to contraception are extremely welcome and fpa will be waiting for the results of the pilot scheme with great interest. There are many different issues to investigate such as training for pharmacists, safe prescribing and women’s experiences of obtaining the pill this way. It’s absolutely essential however, that this initiative is part of a comprehensive and holistic approach to broaden women’s access to all fourteen methods of contraception and not just the pill. Otherwise women will find their contraceptive choices greatly diminished, rather than greatly enhanced.”

The Royal Society was also keen, explaining that the UK has the highest numbers of teenage and unwanted pregnancies in Western Europe. In fact, proportionally, there are six times as many teenage pregnancies in the UK compared to the Netherlands, twice as many as in Germany, and three times as many as in France.

As family planning clinics have closed down around the country there has been a call from a wide spectrum of society for better access to education and contraceptives. This Pilot Scheme will start in 2008. Lord Darzi did not explain how widespread the scheme will be.

fpa reaction to the news
Lord Darzi’s Blog
Teenage Pregnancy – Every Child Matters

Written by – Christian Nordqvist