NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements. They draw on existing guidance, which provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement

This quality standard covers advice about all methods of contraception for women, including emergency contraception. It applies to young people (under 25) and adults. This includes all women of childbearing potential, and young people under 16 who are competent to consent to contraceptive treatment under the Department of Health’s Reference guide to consent for examination or treatment

It does not cover sexual health or reducing sexually transmitted infections. For more information see the contraceptive services topic overview.

NICE quality standards focus on aspects of health and social care that are commissioned locally. Areas of national policy, such as the Department of Health’s Commissioning sexual health services and interventions: best practice for local authorities, are therefore not covered, but should be read alongside this quality standard.