The provision of emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) through community pharmacies was introduced in Hambleton and Richmondshire, the UK, in December 2001 to contribute to the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. The study aimed to establish how well the service is used, whether it is reaching the original target group, why people use it, and where it is accessed.
This was a descriptive study conducted in a rural primary care trust.
From 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2003, there were 1412 pharmacy consultations for EHC and 1260 courses of EHC provided. GP prescribing of EHC decreased, but there was an overall increase in the provision of EHC from pharmacies, GPs, family planning clinics, and accident and emergency departments. By December 2003, community pharmacies had become the largest provider of EHC.
The study concluded that the supply of EHC through community pharmacies provided clients with broader choices and improved access to services, which resulted in the increased overall provision of EC in this rural area. The results can help the family planning organizational settings and clinics provide the patients with better services.