LGA responds to latest figures on teenage pregnancies

By agency reporter
April 18, 2019

The latest figures on conceptions in England and Wales in 2017 have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figures from the ONS showed:

  • In 2017, there were an estimated 847,204 conceptions to women of all ages, a decrease of 1.8 per cent; this was the largest decrease since 2012.
  • The under-18 conception rate in 2017 decreased, for the 10th year running, to 17.9 conceptions per thousand women aged 15 to 17 years.
  • The estimated number of conceptions to women aged under 16 years fell to 2,517 in 2017, compared with 2,821 in 2016, a decrease of 10.8 per cent.
  • Conception rates in 2017 decreased for women in all age groups, except for those aged 40 years and over where the rate increased by 2.6 per cent.
  • Women aged under 16 years were the only age group where the percentage of conceptions leading to a legal abortion decreased.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These latest figures reflect the hard work of councils and their partners in helping to improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of young people.

“But we mustn't become complacent. We must sustain this downward trend, accelerate improvements in areas with high rates and narrow the inequalities we see between them, which will not only make a difference to individual lives, but reduce the long-term demand on health and social care services.

“Evidence shows that high quality relationships and sex education, alongside welcoming and accessible sexual health services and friendly non-judgmental staff, help young people to delay sex until they are ready, and to use contraception effectively.

“The Government’s plans to make relationships and sex education in secondary schools and relationships education in primary schools compulsory will help to reduce teenage pregnancies and health inequalities. It also needs to train teachers and implement a high quality curriculum in time for its roll-out in September as any delay risks a new cohort of young people facing unplanned pregnancy.

“The Government also needs to use the upcoming Spending Review to reverse the £700 million real terms reductions in public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20, to help improve upon the fall in these rates.”

* ONS statistical release here

* Local Government Association https://www.local.gov.uk/

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