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Surrey sees increase in teenage pregnancy rate

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Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:00am 12th June 2019.

The teenage pregnancy rate in Surrey has gone up, bucking the national trend.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said the UK had seen a dramatic decline in teenagers becoming pregnant over the last two decades, but warned cuts to local health budgets could be fuelling regional disparities.

Across Surrey 13 in 100,000 women aged 15 to 17 got pregnant in the three months to March 2018 according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

This was higher than during the same period in 2017, when the rate was 11 in 100,000.

In comparison, the rate across England fell from 19 to 17 per 100,000 over the same period.

A BPAS spokesperson said the role of council-run sexual health services in preventing teenage pregnancy should not be underestimated.

In a statement they said:

“We know that public health budgets have faced deep cuts in recent years, with over a third of local authorities reducing, or planning to reduce, their contraceptive services since 2015.

“It is really important that services are maintained so that regional variations, which will be due to complex factors, do not become more pronounced.”

The number of teenage pregnancies in the county has been falling in recent years, but the pace of change has been slower than across England as a whole and went up compared with the same period last year.

There were 62 pregnancies in Surrey in the first three months of 2018, compared to 53 in 2017 (an increase of almost 17 per cent.

However since 2011 the number has dropped by 47 per cent from 118.

Across England, the number of pregnancies fell by around 50% over the same period, from 7,373 to 3,678.

The BPAS spokesperson said the historical decline across England could be partly attributed to improved sex education and contraception provision, adding:

"Our research also indicates that shifts in young people’s attitudes and lifestyles have played a significant role.

“Increased use of social media among young people and more focus on their family life and future careers, as well as a decline in alcohol consumption, have all contributed to the fall in teen pregnancy rates.”

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