FAMILY PLANNING

Published: 10/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5946 Page 8

Additional resources for sexual health and family planning are failing to get through to GPs, according to a Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare survey.

Eight-four per cent of GPs surveyed reported no additional resources or a reduction in resource levels over the past year.

Of 2,750 clinicians, a third of GPs and two thirds of hospital specialists surveyed reported restricted access to contraceptive services.

Almost a third of primary care trusts are denying certain contraceptive methods because of NHS rationing, the survey claims.

GPs are also struggling to get access to sufficient supplies of free condoms to give out to patients.

Faculty president Dr Alison Bigrigg told MPs last week that when 'a woman of any age requests contraception, she [should be] told of the effective forms available and discuss the ones that suit her best'.

'But in order to ration, a lot of health authorities are saying, 'you can only have it if you have tried the pill and it doesn't suit you. . .' Or they will put barriers up: 'you are the wrong age'. Or they simply do not tell you about it, ' she said. 'It is just amazing that there has been this quiet whittling away of services.'