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Cuts to contraceptive services are impacting directly on patient care

We welcome that Pulse is reporting on cuts being faced by contraceptive and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. These reports clearly echo our own experience. As the largest professional membership body working in SRH, our members are telling us that these cuts are impacting directly on patient care.

GPs play a vital part in the provision of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) methods. Pulse’s investigation results published on 10 February state that some Local Authorities are limiting the number of LARC procedures a GP can undertake. This will make it impossible for these GPs to maintain their qualifications and comply with FSRH governance standards. A minimum of 12 insertions annually are required to recertify. As such, this change has worrying implications for the long-term skills of the GP workforce, and therefore the quality and availability of LARC procedures.

Since this article appeared a number of GPs have contacted the FSRH to express their concern. Dr Kate Armitage, a GP and FSRH Vice President said:

’These cuts will mean that clinicians in primary care will be unable to maintain their practical skills in this area. Ultimately this will lead to further inequalities for women of all ages in access to the most reliable ‘fit and forget’ methods of contraception.

Disabling clinicians in providing this service will mean that the next generation of doctors and nurses will have no one to train them in the use and administration of Long Acting Reversible Contraception.’