Today I release my report into the availability and quality of sexual health services in Walthamstow.
The report shows:
- Restricted access to sexual health services at local GPs and in pharmacies: Whilst one surgery that serves 13,000 residents formally refuses to provide any family planning services, this report highlights women have experienced restrictions informally at other practices as well. There are only three condom distribution outlets in Walthamstow and only sixteen pharmacies in the area that will distribute emergency contraception.
- High rates of teenage pregnancy, abortions and repeat abortions: Higham Hill Ward and Lea Bridge ward in Walthamstow are among the top 20% of wards in England with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. In 2010 there were 1872 abortions in Waltham Forest, equating to an abortion rate of 38.4% per 1000 women in comparison to a 17.6% rate in England. 22% of abortions undertaken by women aged under 19 in Waltham Forest were repeat abortions, compared to 17% in London.
- High rates of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections: There has been an increase of 74% in the numbers of people living with HIV in Waltham Forest in the last ten years, half of whom live in Walthamstow. Waltham Forest also has the highest rate of STI diagnosis of any outer London borough.
- Spending on contraception: In 2009/10 Waltham Forest PCT spent £5.53 on contraception per female head of reproductive age. This is below the average PCT spend on contraception per head, which was £8.12 in 2009/10.