Less Expectations

Stats show big decline in teenage pregnancies

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Government figures show that the borough has seen a big reduction in the number of teenage pregnancies in recent years. Over the past decade and a half the number of girls under the age of 18 becoming pregnant has fallen by more than 58 per cent.

Between 1998 and 2011, the pregnancy rate has fallen from 71 cases per thousand to 29, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

The borough's score is the fourth best in London and the fifth biggest reduction in England and Wales. The rate for inner city Wandsworth is now below the national average.

The success has been attributed to the close partnership work done by the council and the Wandsworth Primary Care Trust together with other groups and agencies to cut teenage pregnancies.

That success has been repeated for girls aged 16 or under. The borough’s figures for this age group have dropped by more than 56 per cent since 2001

Over that period Wandsworth’s rate has switched from being more than 80 per cent above the national average and almost 50 per cent above the London average, to being below both scores. The under 16 conception rate has fallen from 14.7 per thousand to 6.4, which compares to a national rate of 6.7 and a London average of 6.9.

Houda Al-Sharifi, Director of Public Health for NHS Wandsworth said said: “These are very encouraging results and show that the partnership work to tackle our teenage pregnancy rates is paying dividends. This success reflects the strong combined efforts of NHS staff, local schools, community organisations, voluntary agencies and youth workers.

“Although we have seen some very notable successes, we must not become complacent. Our work will continue with a range of new initiatives to build on the excellent results achieved so far.”

The local strategy has included working with young people to help them resist pressure to rush into sex before they are ready, by improving sex and relationship education.

Young people at risk have been targeted through intensive outreach work and they have been helped to access support such as sexual health clinics and the young people’s sexual health advice and information website www.gettingiton.org.uk.

Teenagers who have had unprotected sex and are concerned about the risk of pregnancy are advised to contact their pharmacist, GP or family planning service and get clinical advice as soon as possible.

March 12, 2013