Targeted advice and better access to sexual health clinics has reduced the teenage pregnancy rate in Cwm Taf by 48% since 2008.
Improved access to contraception and better sexual health education has resulted in a steady decrease in teenage pregnancies over the last five years.
Many integrated sexual health services within the health board are now walk-in services, providing open access and a wide range of contraception.
Sexual health outreach services are also provided to young people through schools, colleges and areas accessed by young people.
Sharon Vine, Senior Nurse for Sexual Health who manages the service said: “We are privileged to have such a dedicated, committed and motivated team of expert nurses who enjoy working with young people in innovative ways to ensure that their individual needs are always met in the best way possible. This requires an open, friendly, confidential and non-judgemental approach and the success in reducing the teenage pregnancy rate only serves to commend the effort they have made”.
Across Cwm Taf, the numbers of community pharmacies offering Emergency Hormonal Contraception has increased to 64 (out of 77 in total) and all offer information and advice relating to sexual health services.
A new initiative to build on this work has involved community pharmacists in ‘hot spot’ areas handing out information packs to young people as well as condoms and a list of Condom-Card venues – a scheme designed specifically to encourage young people to talk about sexual health with a health professional.
The initiative was piloted over a six month period during April 2014 to September 2014 and data from the pilot is now being evaluated.
Angela Jones, consultant in public health at Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “We are very pleased that rates of teenage pregnancy are declining but there is still much work to be done in ensuring all young people have access to the support and the information they need.
“The aim of our Condom-Card scheme for example is to provide targeted advice to protect those who are sexually active from the health and social problems associated with teenage pregnancy, teenage parenthood and preventable infections. It offers an invaluable service for young people who do not feel comfortable discussing sex and relationships with parents, to receive reliable sexual health advice and information from a health professional, in a safe environment.”
The public health team, in conjunction with the Integrated sexual health nursing team, offer quarterly level 1 Sexual Health Foundation Course training for local partners working with young people. Increasing training opportunities for staff have also enabled more C-Card outlets to be opened.
Many of the ‘hot spot’ areas across Cwm Taf also offer Communities First (CF) funded youth clubs, alongside statutory local authority centres. To ensure that Communities First staff have timely access to the necessary training and support in relation to young people’s sexual health and well-being, tailored in-house training courses have been offered to all Communities First teams across Cwm Taf.
Across Cwm Taf, the school nursing service and healthy schools team support the school PSE programme. To assist schools in the delivery of sex and relationships education (SRE), a multi-agency working group has been established in Merthyr Tydfil to provide head teachers with a directory of local SRE contributors.