Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Thurrock sees a drop in teen pregnancies but a rise in abortions

THERE has been a drop in underage pregnancies but a rise in abortion rates in Thurrock a new report has revealed reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Thurrock’s health and wellbeing board will meet next week to discuss the Thurrock Integrated Sexual Health Needs Assessment, which has reviewed a range of sexual health services in the borough.

The assessment says under 18 conception rates have decreased since 2017 in line with national and regional trends. Thurrock’s rate of 12 per 1,000 is also relatively low compared to its statistically similar local authorities.

It adds: “Whilst the abortion rate in Thurrock has increased since 2017 and in 2021 was 22 per 1,000 females, the percentage of under-18 conceptions leading to abortion has remained stable.”

Sexual health services available in Thurrock include most contraceptive services, sexually transmitted infections testing and treatment, chlamydia screening and HIV testing.

The report recommends a review of the accessibility of contraception services across Thurrock to ensure that “good quality contraception services are accessible at a time and place that is convenient for the service user”.
Orsett Hospital’s sexual health service was found to be “difficult to get to and to navigate” and operates an appointment only system. The report said: “The service is not open late enough to encourage service users to attend, the building does not have a welcoming environment.”

Thurrock’s HIV prevalence rate is said to be similar to the England average at 2.4 per 1,000 between 15- 59 years, but late diagnoses have increased since 2016-18 across both England and Thurrock
Thurrock also has an under-identification of hepatitis C due to a lower-than average proportion of injecting drug users being engaged in treatment.

The assessment concluded: “Stakeholders on the whole described Thurrock sexual health services as a competent effective service for people who accessed it. However overall professionals working in and around the service have described several ways that the service is not meeting the needs of the Thurrock population.
“There are accessibility issues regarding the main site which are exacerbated due to there being no “spoke” sexual health clinics in Thurrock. Stakeholders repeatedly mentioned that people were likely to go elsewhere for sexual health services due to better access and friendlier more approachable up to date staff and settings.”

Thurrock’s sexual health service contract was extended for one year and is due to expire in 2024.
The health and wellbeing board will discuss the report on Thursday.


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