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Girls As Young As 10 Given Contraceptive Implants

19/01/2015 11:34 | Updated 20 May 2015

Contraceptive implant

Girls as young as 10 have been given the contraceptive implant, according to figures obtained by a newspaper.

The Daily Mail found that the slow-release contraceptive device Nexplanon was given to at least three 10-year-olds in the last five years.

East Lancashire NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children's Hospital, in Liverpool, each gave the implant to a 10-year-old during the last five years.

Meanwhile South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, gave the contraceptive device to a 10 or 11-year-old, the newspaper reports.

It also found that during the last five years, at least 53 12-year-olds were given the implant, as well as a minimum of 281 13-year-olds.

More than 3,000 14-year-olds and at least 6,300 girls aged 15 were also given the device, which releases the hormone progesterone to prevent pregnancy, inserted under the skin in their arms.

A total of 61 NHS Trusts across England admitted they had fitted the implants in minors after a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by MailOnline.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "It is extremely rare that doctors prescribe contraceptives to under-13s, and while we would not comment on individual cases, the doctor is likely to be acting on serious concerns about exploitation or abuse.

"Guidance from the GMC states that doctors must as a matter of routine share information about sexual activity involving children under 13 with police or social services."

Spokespersons for the NHS Trusts highlighted in the MailOnline report all said decisions to give under 13-year-olds contraceptive implants were not 'taken lightly' and were fitted 'in compliance with national guidance on consent, competence and safeguarding'.

South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: "Implants would only be used where it is in the girl's best interests and where consent is given by the parents or guardians."

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