Introduction Unwanted pregnancies and low uptake of LARC continues to be problematic in 15–44 year olds in an East London Borough. Between April 15 and March 16, 45 pharmacies were commissioned, as part of the local enhanced sexual health service (LES) to provide emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) and contraception advice with the aim of increasing LARC uptake in <25s and others at high risk of unwanted pregnancy. Pharmacies taking part in the pilot received PGD and safeguarding training and pathways into LARC were refreshed.
Methods Analysis of self-sample STI tests via the Doctor’s Laboratory and consultations documented via PharmOutcomes, and corresponding search of PreView for attendances for contraceptive/LARC care during time period.
Results 35/45 pharmacies (77.8%) dispensed 324 Levonorgestrel (1500 microgram) doses to women resident in the borough >13 years (average age 24.9 years; range 14.2-49.6 years). 100% of <16s had Fraser competency assessed (4). 6.2% (20/324) women had >1 attendance for EHC. 16 women (4.9%) subsequently attended local CaSH/GUM services for LARC; 8 (2.5%) for implant; 4 (1.2%) for injectable; 4 (1.2%) for IUD.
Discussion Pharmacy delivered EHC and signposting to LARC services in primary and secondary care is feasible. There were limitations in the ability to gather data regarding women accessing LARC in primary care following contact with pharmacy so these numbers may under report the actual figures of those accepting LARC following pharmacy contact. Online booking systems should be accessible to pharmacists to facilitate LARC referral. Further work looking at acceptability of this strategy should be conducted.
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