This policy brief demonstrates that increasing discontinuation rates of contraception must be addressed by creating a national framework of care and education on issues of contraception within Scotland. A need exists for motivated reform within the medical domain: to legitimise individual reports of side effects and attempt to address these reports in a comprehensive manner.
Three quarters of the female population in the UK aged between 16 and 49 used some form of contraception between 2006 and 2007 (Lader, 2007) and more recent studies suggest this number may be nearer to 87% (French et al, 2017). The extent which contraception is used across the UK demonstrates that research in this field is imperative in the protection of the reproductive and sexual health of British citizens. Our proposal will focus on the population of Scotland.
Individual experiences of different forms of contraception vary and are often unpredictable. Many women suffer from unwanted side effects; reportedly feel uninformed, unprepared and unsupported for the various side effects which can present (Displayed in our Scope Survey, Published Online, 2019).
As quoted by the NHS, discontinuation rates of contraception among women in Lothian are currently as high as 33%, annually (NHS JointFormulary Lothian, 2011). This is important as many women discontinue their contraception and “change to a less effective methods” (NHS Joint Formulary Lothian, 2011). Increasing discontinuation rates to less effective methods demonstrate that issues of contraception need to be taken seriously and policies which address high discontinuation rates of contraception need to be implemented in Scotland.
This policy brief demonstrates that increasing discontinuation rates must be addressed by creating a nationalframework of care and education on issues of contraception within Scotland. A need exists for motivated reform within the medical domain: to legitimise individual reports of side effects and attempt to address these reports in a comprehensive manner. True comprehensive medical care requires an informed populace. We argue that, there must be reform to create consistent education on contraception in Scotland, with the eventual aim of empowering individuals to create this fully informed populace.
This paper proposes four key policy changes that need to be implemented to achieve sufficient contraception education and reform within Scotland.
The need for work and research of organisations specialising in contraception and sexual health (such as Brook and FSRH) to be recognised and integrated by national stakeholders (such as the NHS and education Scotland) to make pre-existing research available to the wider public.
There needs to be a change in the availability of information and education on contraceptive issues to the general public through the education system and within medical arenas (such as in-depth information provided to GPs)
There needs to be change in the education of medical students around contraception. This requires a comprehensive syllabus on contraception being required within university medical and biomedical degrees in Scotland.
Further research is required in the medical realm on side effects of contraception, so health care providers can legitimise and address reports of side effects. providers.