Teenage pregnancy rates drop

Teenage pregnancy rates in Northumberland have been slashed by a third, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The conception rate for people under 18 in the county between 1998 and 2012 has dropped 32 per cent to 28.4 per 1,000 conceptions, lower than the national average.

Karen Herne, public health service manager from Northumberland County Council, said: “We are delighted that the proactive work taking place to improve access to services and preventative work being provided is helping to tackle unplanned teenage pregnancy.

“Engaging and resourcing services in a multi-agency way helps us work more effectively with young people and endorses the public health ethos that prevention of an unplanned pregnancy being a better outcome than managing the long-term consequences.”

The council has been working with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on a joint strategy to reduce teenage conceptions since 1998.

The strategy prioritises reducing teenage conceptions and includes initiatives working into county schools and colleges, providing sex and relationships education, and outreach work with young people in order to improve access to confidential contraception services and information.

Jane Telfer, health improvement specialist for teenage pregnancy at the trust, added: “By listening to young people we have been able to develop sexual health services to meet their needs and work towards addressing this complex issue.

“As well as delivering specialist sexual health services for young people and making these more accessible, we do a lot of preventative work to encourage young people to have healthy lifestyles and to make informed decisions.

“The new figures show us that effective guidance and support makes a real difference to maintaining and increasing reductions in teenage conception rates.”