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At the heart of general practice since 1960

NHS denying women newer contraception methods

One in three PCTs are rationing GP access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), according to an audit by a leading expert on contraception.

NICE guidance published in 2005 recommended women should be offered the choice of a LARC, as they are more reliable and cost-effective than other forms of contraception.

Three new QOF indicators and 10 extra points will be allocated to GPs from April 2009 for establishing a register of women on LARCs and offering advice on provision to women on other forms of contraception.

But despite the move to align the QOF with NICE guidance, as many as 30% of PCTs restrict are restricting access to LARCs and newer methods of contraception.

Dr Martyn Walling, a GP in Lincolnshire and an expert on LARCs, presented research at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service last week showing some practices were funded to fit only a dozen implanons per month – less than the national average of 18 per 10,000 patients per month.

‘Many PCTs were either waiting to see if they were limiting funding for LARCs and training to fit them in order to cut costs – which is bad news for the NHS.'

Implanon: GP access to long-acting reversal contraceptives (LARCs) are being rationed by PCTs Implanon: GP access to long-acting reversal contraceptives (LARCs) are being rationed by PCTs

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