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Contraceptive implants defended

NHS managers have defended giving girls as young as 13 contraceptive implants in school in an attempt to combat teenage pregnancies.

The initiative in Southampton to combat Britain's high rate of teenage pregnancies was criticised by one parent who discovered her 13-year-old had been given the implant.

She told the Southern Daily Echo that giving the girl the 4cm device without her knowledge, or that of her GP, between lessons was "morally wrong".

She said: "I feel really angry about this. I agree that teaching teenagers about sexual health and contraception is very important but this is a step too far.

"I have spoken to a lot of parents at the school and they were horrified to find out this was happening."

The mother, who did not want to be named, claimed her daughter received no follow-up appointments and had suffered mood swings, depression and cut off contact with her friends.

The schools which allowed the scheme in Southampton were not told who had sought advice due to patient confidentiality rules.

Britain has one of the highest rates of under age pregnancy in Europe, prompting the then Labour government to launch a teenage pregnancy strategy in 1999 to combat the problem.

Best practice guidance from the Department of Health states: "Doctors and health professionals have a duty of care and a duty of confidentiality to all patients, including under-16s. This guidance applies to the provision of advice and treatment on contraception, sexual and reproductive health, including abortion."

In a statement, Solent NHS Trust said the scheme, in place since 2009, had cut under-16 pregnancies in the city.

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