Borough in top five for teenage pregnancy rate

The Office for National Statistics has released the latest teenage pregnancy rates.

The Office for National Statistics has released the latest teenage pregnancy rates. - Credit: Archant

Havering has the fourth highest teenage pregnancy rate in London, figures show.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 24 girls got pregnant for every 1,000 below the age of 18 in 2016 – up from 22 per thousand in 2015 but lower than a high of 40 in 1998. The figures compare to a national average rate of conception for 2016 of 18.8 for every 1,000 in England, down from 20.8 in 2015.

In total 106 young women conceived across the borough in 2016 compared to 98 in 2015 and 165 in 1998. Croydon and Enfield saw more girls conceive in 2016, 175 and 123 respectively with Barking and Dagenham on 108.

Overall the rate of conception for girls aged 15 to 17 in London was 17.1 for every 1,000 – an 11 per cent fall since 2015, and a 67pc drop since 1998. The lowest since records began in 1969.

Havering Council health chief Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson said: “We aim to support young parents and their children to do as well as possible and work with partners to get rates of teen pregnancy in the borough even lower,” she added before going on to say rates in the borough have reduced by 40pc from 2008 to 2016.

She said further progress was possible by focusing available resources on the things that work including improving sex and relationship education, increasing young women’s aspirations over education and careers and improving access to contraception.

“We are aware that teenage parents and their babies are at increased risk of poor health and persistent financial hardship,” she said.

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In spite of the overall decline, charity Family Planning Association (FPA) warned differences between areas could widen further as a result of cuts to sexual health services.

It added the continued fall in rates could go into reverse thanks to the cuts.

Chief executive Natika Halil said: “This dramatic fall is thanks to a great deal of hard work from health and education professionals, along with investment in services.

“It’s so concerning that local authorities in London are facing such massive cuts to their public health budget, which can lead to sexual health services closing, or see staff and funding reduced.”

Havering committed £282,956 to public health for 2017-18, up from £200,969 for 2016-17.