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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Pregnancy jab given in McDonald's
The boss of a health trust has backed a nurse who gave a contraceptive injection to a schoolgirl in the toilet of a McDonald's restaurant.

Gateshead-based specialist nurse Angela Star told a conference it was necessary to combat high teenage pregnancy rates.

Bob Smith, chief executive of Gateshead Primary Care Trust, said Mrs Star was attempting to engage with girls who would otherwise not seek help.

McDonald's said it considered the practice "completely inappropriate".

Mrs Star told a Royal College of Nursing conference in Belfast that she was forced to take radical steps to tackle high teenager pregnancy rates in Gateshead.

She was not available for comment, or to clarify the exact circumstances surrounding the case.

However, her stance was supported by Bob Smith, who said Mrs Star had recently been named Sexual Health Nurse of the Year by the National Association of Nurses for Contraception and Sexual Health.

'Deeply disappointed'

Mr Smith added: "We are working with young people who are notoriously difficult to engage, they are often reluctant to visit health centres or GP practices, and want to engage the service on their own terms.

"It is clearly not the best place to have an injection. It would have been preferable for it to have been given in a health setting or home situation, but where a patient is clearly unwilling to visit health premises and provide that opportunity, it creates a difficult personal and professional judgement.

"So in those circumstances, a risk assessment is required whether or not to offer an injection in that particular setting, or not offer an injection at all.

"I am clearly not in possession of all the facts about the personal interaction between the patient and Angela, but that is her professional role and responsibility."

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said: "We were completely unaware of this situation and are deeply disappointed and believe it to be completely inappropriate that we were not approached or consulted by either Angela Star or the NHS Trust."

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