In December last year, the BBC shared that GP’s had stopped providing certain types of contraception due to spending cuts. This, according to clinicians, could lead to a higher rise in abortions. Now, the sexual health charity FPA are calling out the UK government for ignoring the needs of women trying to gain access to certain kinds of contraception.
The FPA commissioned a survey and spoke to 1,625 women aged 16-45 about their past and current contraceptive health experiences. During their research, they found "shocking gaps in access" to services.
In particular, the study showed that 17 percent of women found it hard to book an appointment regarding their contraceptive sexual health options. What’s more, 16 percent of women who were surveyed shared that they had to wait over two weeks for a contraception consultation.
Not only that, but only a quarter of the women said they had someone talk to them about a long-acting reversible contraceptive, including the implant and IUD.
In fact, 27 percent of women felt as though they weren’t seen for long enough to go through birth control options whilst at their appointments and 25 percent admitted they had never seen a sexual health professional to talk about contraceptive choices.
“Unfortunately, despite a growing body of evidence that action is needed, the government is not currently placing the same value on them," Lara Russell, policy manger from the FPA, said a statement.
“Every pound spent on contraception saves over £11 in costs to the NHS, and yet we have seen repeated cuts to the public health funding which provides contraception services.”
She also noted that funding for public health was cut in 2015/2016 by £200 million by chancellor George Osborne. Perhaps this latest survey will create awareness, especially as they call on chancellor Philip Hammond to invest back into services for birth control and save the UK billions of pounds.
In the US last month, Donald Trump's administration announced that employers are able to exclude birth control from their health insurance plans – a definitive step back from Obama’s former plans.
Gretchen Borchelt, vice president of reproductive rights and health from the National Women’s Law Center, told Huffington Post that doing so removed the rights of women by taking away their contraceptive coverage. As it stands, it seems both the UK and US face problems in regards to sexual health and contraception.