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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 14:48 GMT
Drive to curb teen pregnancy rate
The pill
The problem with the pill is that you have to remember to take it
Young people are to be offered a much broader range of contraception in a drive to bring down England's high teenage pregnancy rate.

The multi-million pound campaign will seek to improve access not just to the Pill and condoms, but also raise awareness of the longer term options.

Implants and jabs can provide protection for up to three years.

Although the teenage pregnancy rate in Britain is falling in many areas, it remains the highest in Western Europe.

We hope this investment will offset some of the damage done by closure of community family planning clinics in many local areas
Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group

Launching the campaign at the Association for Young People's Health, Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said 14m will be made available to regional health authorities who come up with "innovative" pilot schemes for promoting contraception among the young.

"There is increasing evidence of the key role contraception plays in preventing teenage pregnancy," she said.

"We need to use this evidence and improve access to the full range of methods of contraception in many areas, particularly those with high and increasing rates of teenage pregnancy and high rates of abortion."

Young men as well as women will be targeted in campaigns promoting condom use.

Contraception has been available to young people for a long time now - this won't make any difference
Max, UK

A further 12.8m will go directly to Primary Care Trusts, to spend on contraceptive services as they see appropriate - including those for older women.

In 2005, there were 39,804 conceptions by under-18s in England, a rate of 41.3 per thousand.

These figures are twice as high as in Germany, three times as high as in France and six times as high as in the Netherlands.

Brook Advisory Centres said it "welcomed any move to provide young people with more information about contraception.

"We encourage young people to talk to health professionals about their choices. Hormonal contraceptives should always be coupled with condoms."

The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) said it too welcomed the news.

"It is excellent that the Department of Health has acknowledged young people's very real need for accessible contraceptive services and we hope this investment will offset some of the damage done by closure of community family planning clinics in many local areas."

Julie Bentley, of fpa (formerly the family planning association) said the emphasis on educating young people about sex and relationships was important.

She added that long-acting reversible contraception was highly effective, and fitted well with the lifestyle of modern women.

"Once fitted women don't need to think about using them and, with the exception of the injection, a woman's fertility returns straight away once they are removed."

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