29/09/2004

More women going to chemists for morning after pill

The number of women getting the 'morning after pill' from chemists, pharmacies, walk-in centres and minor injuries units has risen by more than a sixth in three years, according to statistics released today.

Published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the study found that the proportion of women obtaining emergency contraception from these sources increased from 21% in 2001/02 to 38% in 2003/04. Over the same period, the proportion of women experiencing problems obtaining the morning after pill fell from 13% to 4%.

The most popular source for obtaining the pill was the GP or practice nurse (41%) followed by a chemist or pharmacy (27%) and family planning clinic (21%). The proportion of women obtaining the pill from a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit increased between 2002/03 and 2003/04 from less than 1% to 11%.

A split condom is mentioned by half (49%) of women who used the 'morning after pill' during the last year as the reason for having used it.

Half (52%) of all women aged 16-49 are currently using at least one method of non-surgical contraception. The most popular method of contraception remains the contraceptive pill: a quarter of women are currently using this method. The second most popular method is the male condom, used by 23% of women aged 16-49.

(gmcg/mb)

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