Teenage pregnancy rates in Telford at lowest rate since records began
Teenage pregnancy rates in Telford & Wrekin are at their lowest level since records began.
A report, which will be considered by the Telford & Wrekin Council's health and wellbeing board tomorrow, says that the rate is now similar to the national average for the first time.
The figures show that the number of teenage pregnancies has more than halved from 183 in 1998, to 60 in 2016.
The report states: "For some young people, becoming a parent is a positive choice. However, teenage pregnancy is often associated with poor health and social outcomes for both the mother and child. Young mothers are more likely to suffer postnatal depression and less likely to complete their education, more likely to live in poverty and more likely to become teenage parents themselves.
"In Telford & Wrekin rates of teenage pregnancy are currently at the lowest ever recorded, having halved since 1998 from 183 conceptions per annum to 60 conceptions per annum in 2016.
"In 2015 and 2016 the rates in Telford and Wrekin have fallen and become ‘similar to the national average’ for the first time since local authority records began. Of our 16 statistical near neighbours we now have the third lowest rate of teenage pregnancy."
The report also outlines that more people are using the borough's integrated sexual health services, which have been commissioned from Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust since April 2016
The hub is located at Bishton Court in the town centre and during 2017/18 there were a total of 9,660 visits to the service – an increase of 15 per cent compared to the previous year.
The report outlines that although the service is available to people of all ages the highest proportion of attendances, 40 per cent, were the youngest people – aged between 16 and 24.
Of the 9,660 attendances, 3,028 were also said to be residents of Telford & Wrekin’s most deprived wards.
The paper says that on average more than 2,000 new patients access the sexual health service each year.
It also indicates that the borough has a lower than average prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) amongst the general population, and particularly in relation to Chlamydia.
However, the report states that measures are being taken to ensure increased testing of gonorrhoea and HIV.
The report states: "PHE have identified that within the West Midlands region, the overall diagnosis rate for gonorrhoea has increased gradually over the past ten years. For this reason, in Telford & Wrekin chlamydia and gonorrhoea combined test kits are now offered for free to all young people, as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme. These test kits are available within the sexual health service, online, via school nurses and pharmacies.
"Locally there is a lower than average uptake of HIV testing amongst people visiting the sexual health service, therefore we have increased access to HIV online testing kits to all people at risk. Further efforts are needed to improve uptake rates and joint audit between the Public Health Team and the Clinical Lead HIV will be conducted early in 2019 as a way to improve uptake."
The health and wellbeing board will meet at 2pm at Addenbrooke House, Telford.