Contraceptive decision ‘indefensible’
Doctors slam measures to stop making coil available via GPs after a vote by board
HILLINGDON doctors have slammed as ‘totally indefensible’ a decision to stop making the contraceptive coil available via the GP surgeries in the borough.
Instead, women will only be able to receive a IUCD, short for intrauterine contraceptive device, from a specialist clinic, following a vote of the Hillingdon Health and Wellbeing Board in December.
Dr Ian Goodman, chairman of Hillingdon’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), slammed the decision.
“It cannot be justified on the basis of clinical evidence or funding,” he said. “Some parts of our borough have teenage pregnancy rates nearly twice the national average and providing IUCDs is one important way of avoiding unwanted pregnancies.”
He said responsibility for this service moved to Hillingdon Council in April 2012, along with funding and £4million for public health initiatives.
He added: “We cannot understand why this decision has been made now. We are also very concerned that no health impact assessment or equalities impact assessment was carried out prior to this decision being made.”
Figures for Hillingdon borough show that 590 women used the IU device, which was 10 per cent of the total of women who used contraceptive services in 2014-2015.
The council insisted that residents will still have full access to free coil contraception and can request an appointment with the Contraception and Sexual & Reproductive Health Service on 01895 488 890.
A spokesperson said: “The only change is that instead of visiting their GPs they will go to a specialist clinic which the council is funding.
“The service at GPs was one that the council has funded as a goodwill gesture since 2014. A decision was made to decommission this after a long running funding dispute with the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group.”
Dr Goodman is calling on the council, through the Health and Wellbeing Board, to set out how any money saved will now be spent.
Independent watchdog Healthwatch Hillingdon would like to hear the public’s views. Call 01895 272 997 or email office@ h e a l t h wat c h h i l l i n g d o n . org.uk.