To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what steps her Department is taking to ensure women and men have access to community contraceptive services; and if she will make a statement;
(2) what consideration her Department has given to (a) setting a target for and (b) allocating more resources to reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies among women over the age of 25; and if she will make a statement.
The Government acknowledge that the provision of contraception is an essential health care service. In "Choosing Health: Making healthy choices easier", the Government acknowledged that contraceptive services need to be developed and modernised, and made a commitment to undertake a baseline review of service provision. The results of this review will be produced very shortly. In addition we will publish accompanying best practice guidance on reproductive health care in the spring.
Assessment of performance against national targets is a component of the "quality of services" element of the Healthcare Commission's annual healthcheck. In 2006-07 one of the indicators is for Reproductive Healthcare which includes a series of questions for primary care trusts (PCTs) on access to contraception for women of all ages, including those aged over 25.
Additional investment for contraceptive services has been allocated with Choosing Health funding for PCTs in 2006-07 and 2007-08. However, it is for PCT to determine what level of contraceptive service they provide, from whom they commission the services and the level of funding for services, in order to meet the needs of their local population.