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Digest: A quarter of councils target contraceptive services for savings

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More than a quarter of councils have decided to close community contraceptive services or are considering doing so, research has found.

Freedom of information requests made by the Advisory Group on Contraception revealed 14% of the 146 top-tier councils that responded confirmed they had either already closed or planned to end services.

A further 13% reported that closures were under consideration.

The AGC report, Private Lives, Public Health: the changing shape of contraceptive services in England post-2013, outlined a series of what it called “worrying trends” caused by public health budgets being cut by £800m across this parliament.

These included reductions in the number of community clinics providing contraception choices for women, fewer GP practices contracted to provide access to “longer acting” methods and inconsistencies in access across the country

Responding to the report published today, AGC member and chief executive of the Family Planning Association Natika Halil said: “Making it harder for women to choose the right contraception for them will mean more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions.

“Councils need adequate funding to deliver the comprehensive contraceptive services women need and deserve.”

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