Teenage pregnancy in Wigan is ‘significantly worse’ than national average and is rising

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Teenage pregnancy is rife in Wigan and the borough is performing “significantly worse” than the national average and has been rising since 2019, according to latest data.

Wigan Council statistics show that there have been 22 conceptions per 1,000 (adolescent girls aged 15 to 19), which is almost double the national average of 13.

The local authority has been working on ways to improve sexual health across the borough and brought about mixed results compared to the national picture.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Countdown is on as participants get ready for Run Wigan Festival 2023
Teenage pregnancy rates are on the rise in WiganTeenage pregnancy rates are on the rise in Wigan
Teenage pregnancy rates are on the rise in Wigan

The borough is doing better than the national average for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) but is performing “significantly worse” than the national average on others, including; HIV testing coverage in specialist services, teenage pregnancy and LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) delivery.

“We are performing significantly worse (22.0 conceptions per 1,000) than the national average (13.0) in respect of teenage pregnancy,” a council report said. “Since 2019 there has also been a slight upward trend in teenage pregnancy rates in the borough, out of line with the national trend.

“We are performing significantly worse than the national average in relation to a number of performance indicators relating to LARC, including the overall rate of LARC prescribed in the borough, and the rates prescribed in both primary care and specialist sexual healthcare services.”

Wigan remains a low prevalence area for HIV but still is still performing badly for testing, the report went on to say. However, positive data shows STIs are still under the national average, but there were increases in the number of new STI diagnoses across most STIs between 2020 and 2021.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Plans to tackle these issues by the council include improving sex education within schools as well as increasing digital offerings. The latter “has achieved a significant take up of testing during the pandemic restrictions and afterwards and contributed to a lower reduction in testing than seen regionally and nationally”.

Problems with recruitment and retention of staff in the sexual health sector combined with increased pressures for service need is causing issues in managing demand. A report claims this, in turn, is increasing pressure on primary care services such as GPs.

“Significant work was undertaken as part of the last review to describe a vision and model to reform sexual health services in the borough,” the conclusion of the report said. “Positive steps have been made on the journey towards realising this vision, but further work is required to achieve our aspirations more fully.

“The work takes place in a challenging context, during a period of recovery, increased asks and structural system change. That said, there is an opportunity to review and refresh our direction of travel, in line with the opportunities set out, working with partners across the system.”

The review will be put before the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee meeting on March 13 at Wigan Town Hall – who will provide their insight into the matter.

Related topics: