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Getting contraception during COVID-19 lockdown

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FSRH, advice, prescriptions, contraception, COVID-19, Coronavirus, locdown, social distancing“Women must be able to access safe and effective contraception during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has just issued advice for women who need to get a new or repeat prescription for contraception.

Because of the social distancing rules introduced by the government, during the COVID-19 outbreak face-to-face consultations for contraception are not recommended.

Women are being urged not to visit a clinic in person, and to only access services such as surgeries or clincics if their need for care is immediate.

Basically, telephone and online consultations are be able to ensure that women can access contraception during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The FSRH’s advice also covers what methods women can expect to be able to access during the pandemic and how they can get their prescriptions filled.

Most GPs will be able to send an electronic prescription to the pharmacy for collection.

Many community clinics are posting prescriptions or medications to patients. Doctors, nurses and other clinicians will be able to tell women how they can collect any necessary medication.

Dr Anne Lashford, Vice President of the FSRH, said: “Women must be able to access safe and effective contraception during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Their first port of call should be the place where they have accessed care before – that could be their GP or their local sexual and reproductive healthcare clinic.

“Women should not attend the clinic in person, but make contact by telephone or email instead.

“Women will be asked to participate in a telephone or video consultation to discuss their needs.

“This is to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19 and to avoid unnecessary travel.

“If further examination is required, a face-to-face appointment may be arranged.

“It may not be possible to start a woman’s chosen contraceptive method at this time, but they will be provided with an effective temporary method.

“The progestogen-only pill is a good option as an effective temporary ‘bridging’ method of contraception.

“If women are having problems with their current contraceptive method, they should contact their GP or local contraception clinic by phone or e-mail.”

Becky Gunn, a member of the Women’s Network of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: “There have been a lot of changes in our lives in recent weeks and many health services have had to adapt in order to protect service users and staff.

“However, it is vital that women remain able to access safe, effective contraception in their local area in a timely manner.

“It is reassuring to see that guidance has been developed and this new information will help women to decide what option is most suitable for them.”

To read the full guidance, ‘Advice for women seeking contraception, abortion and other sexual and reproductive healthcare during the COVID-19 epidemic’, click here.

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