Ann Furedi, bpas chief executive, said:
“This standard does little to improve access to Emergency Hormonal Contraception for the many women who cannot obtain it for free under a local pharmacy scheme – and are forced either to pay up to £30 or make appointment with their GP, wasting time and resources for both the woman herself and the health service. Contraceptive choice is not always about which method is most effective but which is most acceptable in the context of a woman’s own life and level of sexual activity. Many women are satisfied using pills and condoms. They do not want a coil, they simply need swift access to emergency contraceptive pills when their preferred method occasionally fails or is forgotten. A national standard enabling all women to access emergency contraception for free through a local pharmacy would be more helpful than trying to persuade women asking for pills to consider a coil.
“Women requesting advice about contraception need information about other options, but many will have their own personal reasons for not wishing to use LARCs such as coils or implants, even if these may be ideal for others. Contraception should always be a woman’s choice, never imposed by a clinician, and performance indicators based on increased uptake of LARCs risk undermining women’s autonomy and her relationship with her care provider. All those involved in women’s reproductive healthcare should be involved in designing services based on what women want – not what we think is best for them.”