UK Schools giving 13 year old girls contraceptive injections and implants without parents permission
Hundreds of pupils given birth control jab at school without parents’ knowledge
School nurses have given implants or jabs to girls aged 13 to 16 more than 900 times since 2010
Jabs turn sex into an ordinary thing ‘like going to McDonald’s’ says respected headteacher
By Claire Bates
PUBLISHED: 10:53, 29 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:51, 29 October 2012
Hundreds of girls as young as 13 are receiving contraceptive injections and implants at school, a nationwide study has revealed.
School nurses have given implants or jabs to girls aged 13 to 16 more than 900 times since 2010. A further 7,400 girls aged 15 or under – and therefore under the age of consent – received the contraception at family planning clinics.
Due to patient confidentiality rules, nurses are not allowed to inform parents before or after the procedure without the pupil’s express permission.
Implants and jabs are now offered in schools in Bristol, Berkshire, Peterborough, West Midlands, Northumbria and Country Durham according to a survey by The Daily Telegraph, using Freedom of Information laws.
It could be far more widespread as many trusts said they did not record the figures, while others cited patient confidentiality.
The contraceptive jab contains the hormone progestogen and can be used every two or three months. It works the same way as the pill by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg, thickening the entrance of the cervix and thinning the lining of the womb.
Critics of the scheme have warned that offering contraception to under-16s could skew a teenager’s attitude to sex and hinder their development.
‘Anything that trivialises or treats it as something mundane or easy, particularly for young people, is damaging their ability to grow up and to properly form a loving lasting relationship,’ Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College told The Daily Telegraph.
‘It devalues sex, it makes it like an ordinary, everyday thing like going to have a McDonald’s.’
A breakdown of the figures revealed NHS Bristol had provided the contraceptive jab on 430 occasions to children aged 13 to 16. This included 19 jabs offered to 13 year-olds. The city has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country.
The teenage pregnancy rate in England and Wales fell to 34,633 in 2010, the lowest rate since 1969. This included 6,674 pregnancies in under-16s. However, the rate is still around twice as high as that in France and Germany.
Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister said: ‘Young people under the age of 16 are legally able to access contraceptive and sexual health services and any advice given will be kept confidential.
‘However, the health professional must always encourage a young person to talk to their parents about their sexual health.’