The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) has told officials that slashed budgets and major reorganisations across the NHS could put the current downward trend in teenage pregnancies under threat. At the moment, the under-18 conception rate is at its lowest level for over 20 years.
Experts now fear that the target to halve the teenage pregnancy rate by 2010 will be missed.
Figures for England show there were 38,750 conceptions amongt under-18s in 2008, a fall of 13 promised from the 1998 baseline.
The TPIAG is calling upon the Coalition government to invest funds in contraception, sex and relationship education, arguing that contraception is cost effective, saving the NHS £11 for every £1 invested. It also claims that local councils and primary care trusts would face much bigger bills if they reduced contraceptive services.
Gill Frances Chairman of the TPIAG told reporters: 'We warn government that teenage pregnancy rates will rise again unless there is sustained commitment and investment in contraceptive services, along with better sex and relationships education.The challenge for local areas is to maintain the current downward trend in teenage pregnancy during major reorganisation in the NHS, the removal of targets and at a time of reduced public spending. It is truly shocking to hear about the current level of disinvestment, the loss of posts and projects and closure of contraceptive services.'
What do you think?
What is the solution to reducing teen pregnancy rates?