teenYoung, socially and economically disadvantaged young people under 25 may not know how to access emergency contraceptive services. This also includes some members of faith and religious groups, and those with physical or learning difficulties or mental health problems.

To reduce inequalities, unwanted conceptions and save money in the long-term, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its contraceptives service guidance, with a focus on those under 25. It lists essential information for health professionals so they can make the best and most efficient use of resources to improve the health of people in their area.

This includes the basic principles of having the right to reliable, high-quality contraception in places that are convenient (ie near a college). There is also a comprehensive list of the types of oral emergency contraception available, and how long it can be taken after unprotected intercourse. For example, the newer version of ulipristal - 30mg ulipristal acetate - can be taken for up to five days after sex. There is also a rundown of the Fraser guidelines - also called ‘Gillick competence’ which provides an essential checklist for those providing contraceptive services, such as ensuring that the young person understands the health professional’s advice and his or her best interests are served by being provided with contraceptive advice and/or treatment - with or without parental consent. This includes ensuring that free condoms are provided in addition to other methods to prevent pregnancy, and the importance of offering culturally appropriate, confidential, non-judgmental advice - as well as a free, same-day pregnancy testing service and information about local STI services.

To download the guidance, visit http://publications.nice.org.uk/contraceptive-services-lgb17/what-nice-says#nice-recommendations