Teenage pregnancy rates in Bucks are at their lowest since 1998, according to latest statistics.
A total of 171 women aged under 18 are known to have fallen pregnant in 2012 compared with 184 in 2011.
The Bucks rate of 17.3 in 1,000 girls falling pregnant compares well to the English average of 27.7 and the south east of 23.2 – although there is a downward trend across the country.
Angela Macpherson, Buckinghamshire County Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “These new ONS figures for Buckinghamshire are encouraging.
“Reducing the number of unintended teenage pregnancies in Buckinghamshire is of the utmost importance and is a priority for us.
“We are working very hard with a number of initiatives to help support young people to make informed choices about their relationships and sexual health.”
Angie Blackmore, public health principal at Buckinghamshire County Council, added: “The factors behind teenage pregnancy are highly complex, and we work in partnership with many other local organisations to tackle the issue.
“We have been working hard over recent years to improve access to contraceptive services, in particular long-acting reversible contraceptives including implants and coils, and to reduce sexually transmitted infections.
“We are confident that the appropriate sexual health services are now in place to provide high quality services to young people in Buckinghamshire.”
Due to complication compiling and pulling together raw data, statistics on teen pregnancies are published at least 14 months after the end of the period to which they relate.
Measures in Bucks to cut teen pregnancies include:
> Sexual health awareness training for those working with young people across the Buckinghamshire area, including relationships and sexual health training for school staff to enable them to support their students.
> A pilot project offering intensive one to one support to those young people at risk of teenage pregnancy or poor sexual health looking at relationships, self-esteem, assertiveness and future aspirations as well as sexual health.
> The provision of free condoms for young people under 25 through the ‘C-Card’ scheme. The C-Card scheme provides young people quick and easy access to condoms and sexual health advice from trained professionals. Young people receive their C-Card only after a discussion with a trained youth worker or other professional.
> Free emergency hormonal contraception to under 19s through community pharmacies. A key aspect of the pharmacy training is ensuring that pharmacists know where to signpost young people in order to meet their ongoing contraceptive and sexual health needs.
> Promotion of ‘RU Ready?’, an approach that encourages young people to really consider whether they are ready for sex and provides advice on relationships, sex, sexual health and contraception.