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to think it's no wonder why teen pregnancies / unwanted pregnancies are so high?

(33 Posts)
chrissieagogo Sat 22-Sep-12 12:11:40

I live in a modest sized city, I work fulltime shifts, and have 2 DCs (planned). I'm still frustrated by an experience I had on Thursday morning, to the point where I'd like some outside perspective.

Basically I'm amazed that the UK doesn't have a higher rate of teen pregnancy / unwanted pregnancy based on my surprisingly crap experience of the family planning services I've interacted with in the last few days.

To summarise:

- Always used pill (lately condoms) but have always been sick off the faff, and so DH and I have agreed to look at more "suitable" options for a while
- Last month, I called to book GP surgery appointment for coil fitting for any time in any week (I can book time off work, get DH to do DC pickup, if I know the date in advance)... surgery helpfully advises that since they can only fit those on Fri mornings before 1pm, due to staff availability, it'll be at least a month before I can get it done. They advise I go to the dedicated family planning centre instead.
- I call family planning, they tell me they don't give appointments for non-urgent/routine stuff, it's a walk-in place every morning weekdays. Sounds fab!
- I book a day off work for 3 weeks later.
- I arrive at the clinic at 8.20am, ten mins before opening time, to a queue at the door. I don't get an appointment that day. I do get offered to speak to a nurse. I join that queue then. When I get called to speak to the nurse, she realises I'm non-urgent (as in, I don't need to be seen that day) and I am told to come back later in the week and try again to arrive earlier. She offers me some free condoms, though.
- I book another day off work, for this Thursday. I arrive at the clinic at 8am (half an hour before opening), but due to staff training in the morning they have even less slots available than the time before, so again after speaking with the nurse on duty, who again realises that I'm not an emergency, she advises me to try again another day. She also offers me some free condoms. As I walk out the door, there's a girl talking to the receptionist who is getting quite distressed, saying that she's been there since 8am, has university lectures at 1pm, and still hadn't been seen, and was there anything the receptionist can to do ensure she's seen before 12.30 please.

Now, whilst all the staff I've spoken to have been lovely, they are working within very strict procedures and have a limited ability to influence things. I know this.

But... my experience of simply trying to access family planning services has been quite shocking - I've now booked the next available appointment at my GP surgery for one Friday at the end of October, so at least I'm guaranteed to be able to get it done. But it has been quite a waste of time and delay to realise that's what I'd have to resort to.

AIBU to be surprised that this is the level of "service" people get if they want NHS family planning care? I can't help but feel that if I were younger, barriers to reliable, long term contraception would be a huge problem. Luckily I'm in a position that I can drive and have the ability to re-arrange shifts at work, and have a DH to help with childcare, for me to access these services. But if I was younger, couldn't drive, or lived remotely... what do people do?

Or is my city just exceptionally crap at this stuff? (Or maybe I just caught them on a particularly poor week)

squeakytoy Sat 22-Sep-12 12:17:25

Maybe it is just your area or you were just unlucky.

Everyone I know has no problems at all getting the pill, implant, coil or whatever they use, and if all else fails, condoms are easily purchased all over the place.

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Sep-12 12:21:06

Aren't coils not suggested for young girls who've never been pregnant? I thought that was the case, not entirely sure why!

There are other options easily available to teenagers so, although I sympathise with your problem, I don't think you can relate your experience to the reason for the high number of teen pregnancies in the UK.

thumb its something to do with their cervix not being so elastic-y

I've never had a problem getting the pill, nor condoms.
I dont want an implant, but friends who have them havent had problems getting them?

So yes, its been hard to get you fitted with a coil, but there are other options that arent so hard, for other people

Ive never attempted a clinic though, always see my own GP

Birdsgottafly Sat 22-Sep-12 12:26:15

Your city is crap, if that is your experience.

There is a Sexual Health (Family Planning) clinic within short bus rides, in my city, Liverpool.

You can be seen somewhere within two days, usually that day.

If you are a teen there is additional services.

We (Liverpool) have a very high rate of unwanted/teen pregnancies, the availability of contraception doesn't factor in this.

Tbh,if you are an adult and in a stable relationship (or not) then waiting a month to have a coil fitted, shouldn't be a problem.

Sexual Health services go into colleges and uni's, Children's Centre's and other service providers, families 'known to services' are offered assistance to get appointments, that is why you are not a priority.

chrissieagogo Sat 22-Sep-12 12:26:49

oh, i didn't mean to suggest that the girl i heard was there for a coil too, i've no idea why she was trying to be seen (as is quite right). she was just there in the queue that morning but hadn't been seen by the time i was leaving myself. sorry, maybe that was unclear from my post.

McHappyPants2012 Sat 22-Sep-12 12:27:23

coils are not advised to people without children as it is tricker to insert into the cervix.

I have never had any problem accessing family planning

unsureofthefuture Sat 22-Sep-12 12:28:40

I had a similar experience with the implant, had it put in at the drs but after 2.5yrs of hell on it i requested it out but the drs said they had no one qualified to remove it, I contacted the family planning clinic in my town but had a similar response-non urgent, fully booked for 6wks, try another clinic. In the end I had to attend the fpc in the next town 6 miles away in the evening on a weekday. As i was able to find childcare and I drive I was able to attend but I was also left wondering what younger women do especially as the buses between the two towns are few and far between after 6pm. They do not make it easy!

Birdsgottafly Sat 22-Sep-12 12:30:50

Just to add,if you are not in a stable relationship, then you should be using condoms, anyway, which you did get offered.

Contraception should be though about and put in place, well before you are going to have sex, that is the message that needs to be given out.

The services are available, just not that day, you don't have to have sex daily, though.

janey68 Sat 22-Sep-12 12:33:03

Yabu, it's actually incredibly straightforward in this country. Teenagers have no problem getting free condoms, which are the ideal method as used properly they are extremely effective in preventing STI and prenancy. For anyone likely to have sex while not in a relationship and without much planning they are perfect. If a teenager wants to go on the pill it takes a little more planning but is still not rocket science.

Honestly, in this country it's straightforward, it's free and basically so much easier to avoid pregnancy than in many other parts of the world.

Most teenagers I know of who have become pregnant have either made a choice that they want a baby, or they have not been sufficientl bothered about not getting pregnant that they let it happen.

So yabu to blame the NHS or any other system

Birdsgottafly Sat 22-Sep-12 12:39:54

Most teens end up pregnant, unwanted, because of the attitude that contraception is a female's job.

unsure actually thinking about it, I do know someone who had trouble getting her implant out. She went to a&e threatening to take it out herself!

janey68 Sat 22-Sep-12 13:04:09

Pills, implants and coils all take a bit of planning. And rightly so- I would be horrified at the thought of these things being doled out without proper health checks, blood pressure checks and some medical history being taken... All of these things can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone

I think where you are wrong op, is in linking this with unwanted teenage pregnancies. Condoms are widely available to teens of both genders for free through schools, clinics and other places. This would be the contraception of choice anyway , perhaps combined with a spermicide foam. No health checks needed, prevents STI as well as pregnancy.

SiSiTD Sat 22-Sep-12 13:20:31

I would be very worried if I was made to have a coil fitted at a FPC. You are supposed to have swabs taken to ensure no vaginal infection - yeast, BV etc - before having it done - I was hospitalised with mine as these swabs were not done.

I think you are right to link the poor access to services with high teen pregnancy rate. The town where I grew up was great for services, there were three clinics I could go to and would always be seen that day by lovely, un judging nursing staff - as a teenager younger than the age of consent ( I know gasp) I was able to access regular STD check-ups and get my pill with ease.

Moved to uni and it all changed. I went to the GP to get my injection - it was prescribed for medical reasons and not as a contraceptive by by previous GP - and was told I would have to go to the GUM clinic by the receptionist. I told her it was the FPC I would need, but she assured me it was the GUM. I rang up to book an appointment and was told I could not. So I went down at 8 AM the next day. I tried to ask the receptionist where they could do contraception there and she said she couldn't discuss personal things and I would have to ask the doctor. At 14:30 I was called through. I was then told that it was the FPC I needed but seeing as I was there I might as well have full STD tests done.

At this point I rang the GP and was then told that they could do my injection next week as they were starting to administer contraception on site from that point, why they couldn't have told me this before I do not know.

To get the results for my STD tests I was told to ring between 8AM & 12 on a set day. I tried but could not get through. The next day I rang and got through and was told that she did not have my notes available and I would have to ring back. To cut a long story short this process was repeated 8 times before I gave up. Unsurprisingly my homes town has considerably lower teen pregnancy and STD rates than my uni town.

Sorry for the long post - needed to vent.

Titsalinabumsquash Sat 22-Sep-12 13:25:13

I've personally never had a problem assessing family planning through either the sexual health nurse at the GP surgery or the fpc, for emergency contraception they also deal with it in out local a&e and ooh service if you require MAP on a weekend for example.

CassandraApprentice Sat 22-Sep-12 13:29:58

I think it easier to access family planning services in my area if you are a teenager as they only see under 25.

I know a young married 24 year old mother who went to them and was told the service really wasn't for her.

My GP a bit crap in this area. All they'll offer me is the hormonal coil and don't seem to want to talk through any options. I'm not keen as I know a few mothers fitted with this by this practice who've ended up pregnant. Walk in centers don't deal with contraception unless an emergency and family planning I'm to old for.

Possibly teenagers are prioritized as there is a high rate of pg among them here.

KillerRack Sat 22-Sep-12 13:36:42

IME a lot of people assume the pill is a fit all when all the cons are rarely properly explained.

The amount of people who pregnant on the pill is staggering and its not just 'you didn't take it on time' either there are other factors.

A lot of special teen clinics are so packed you don't get a lot of explanation.

Ithinkitsjustme Sat 22-Sep-12 13:58:30

I've never had any trouble accessing contraception, the fact that none of it has ever worked is irrelevent! grin, I don't think that this is to blame for teenage pregnancies, what is to blame is the attitude towards sex. If girls and boys were taught more respect for their own bodies, then I really don't think we would have the problem we do now.

Ithinkitsjustme Sat 22-Sep-12 14:00:59

CassandraApprentice - don't touch a coil with a bargepole!! I ended up with an infection on my ovary, had to have surgery, they didn't remove the coil but I still got pregnant and then had to have more surgery to remove the damn thing as it had somehow "vanished", I know so many people who have had problems with them - I'd never have one again.

gettingthingsdone Sat 22-Sep-12 14:01:41

I'm in an inner city borough where teen pgs are quite high, but I've found it very easy to get contraception here. It's definitely not down to availability. You can pick up free condoms from lots of chemists (posters in the windows so well publicised), and they do the MAP for free too, with just a quick chat with the pharmacist. And buses are plentiful here, with late openings for the FPCs once a week.

I did have to wait a month to get my implant sorted, but as someone said, that's not a problem if you're in a LTR, and they gave me free condoms AND the pill in the meantime.

ChesterCake Sat 22-Sep-12 14:06:06

I live in the southwest, it has taken we 11 weeks to get a coil fitted, exactly the same as the OP,

Clinic wouldn't see me as I'm not an 'emergency' and the GP cancelled my appointment and rearranged twice.

I'm 20, and this is using the 'additional services for teens' hmm

It's shit op, there is no wonder that teen pregnancy is so high and that young girls go on to have more babies sometimes far too quickly.

Birdsgottafly Sat 22-Sep-12 14:37:19

Why can you not use condoms for 11 weeks?

I am surpised that they will see you at the teen clinic, when you are not a teenager.

I think that we are lucky in Liverpool, as well as numerous walk in clinics, there is a GUM clinic in our A&E hospital.

We just need to teach to both genders that contraception should be a priority and penetrave sex isn't the be all and end all, if you cannot wait.

MarysBeard Sat 22-Sep-12 14:51:15

I broadly agree with the OP, access to contraception could be made much easier.

As a teen I was embarrassed to go to the family doctor so had to go to FPC which was quite complicated to get to on public transport, in an area I had never been, and my experiences mirrored those of the OP. I had hoped it would have changed in the last 20 years. I was quite sensible, determined and relatively clued up at 17 and I could easily see how so many could fail to access the appropriate services.

As an adult it took a while to get the appropriate appointment to have coil fitted - double appointment required, both, doctor and nurse attending, there is only one doctor who fits them and she works part time, organising childcare and you can't have any kids there in case you have a bad reaction and have to be ambulanced to hospital!

It was much easier at university - condoms given out like bags of sweets, practice very clued up about contraception, STDs and gynaecological matters.

cjbk1 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:32:44

Yes iv had no end of problems getting (an appointment for) and contraception when we lived in a London borough in my 20's /when we lived in a herts village in my 20's /now we live in a lg town which is called a city wink in herts and I'm 30.its never simple

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