Next review: 2017

This guidance is for NHS and other commissioners, managers and practitioners who have a direct or indirect role in, and responsibility for, contraceptive services. This includes those working in local authorities, education and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors. It may also be of interest to young people, their parents and carers and other members of the public.

NICE says that young men and women should be given advice and information on all types of contraception to help them choose the best method for their needs and lifestyle. This makes it more likely that contraception will be used effectively.

The recommendations emphasise the need to offer additional tailored support to meet the particular needs and choices of those who are socially disadvantaged or who may find it difficult to use contraceptive services.

The 12 recommendations include advice on:

  • How to assess local need and commission comprehensive services.
  • Offering culturally appropriate, confidential, non-judgemental, empathic advice tailored to the needs of the young person.
  • Ensuring young people understand that their personal information and the reason why they are using the service will be kept confidential.
  • Providing contraceptive services after pregnancy and abortion.
  • Encouraging young people to use condoms as well as other forms of contraception.
  • How schools and other education settings can provide contraceptive services.

This guideline was previously called contraceptive services with a focus on young people up to the age of 25.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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