Alison Hadley OBE
Teenage Pregnancy Knowledge Exchange
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
University of Bedfordshire
Luton, LU1 3JU
m: 07449 905073
The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which ran from 1999-2010, reduced the under-18 conception rate to the lowest level for over 40 years.
However, at a national level England's rates remain higher than levels in comparable Western European countries and progress in reducing rates varies considerably between local areas. The Coalition Government has asked local areas to maintain their focus as part of tackling inequalities and child poverty.
Continuing to reduce the rate of under-16 and under-18 conceptions is one of four priority areas in the Sexual Health Improvement Framework. The under-18 conception rate is Sexual Reproductive Health Profiles included as an indicator in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) which sets the context for improving health and reducing inequalities at national and local level.
The Local Government Association has highlighted the importance of a continued focus on teenage pregnancy in their briefing for councillors.
Progress on reducing teenage pregnancy - and improving support for young parents - will also help local government improve at least 25% of the wider PHOF indicators which disproportionately affect teenage parents and their children. These include child poverty, infant mortality, poor maternal mental health and levels of young people not in education, employment or training.
To check how your local area is performing against these indicators, there are now two helpful local authority interactive profile tools available from Public Health England (PHE) - the Sexual and Reproductive Health Profiles the Child Health Profiles.
Making it Work: a guide to whole system commissioning of sexual health, reproductive health and HIV services, has been published by PHE to help commissioners ensure integrated and responsive services within the new landscape of local government and clinical commissioning groups. The guide is co-branded with NHS England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health.
C-card condom distribution schemes: why, what and how – has been published by Brook and PHE to support local areas establish and maintain effective c-card schemes.
Getting maternity services right for pregnant teenagers and young fathers - has been published by PHE, DH and Royal College of Midwives.
Despite the significant reduction in the under-18 conception rate, young parents and their children continue to experience disproportionately poor outcomes, so are a key group for PHE and local councils' priorities of narrowing inequalities and giving every child the best start in life.
The short guide gives practical tips to non-specialist midwives and maternity support staff to help increase pregnant teenagers and young fathers' early uptake and engagement with maternity services.