Hundreds of Wigan women who terminated their pregnancy last year have already had one or more abortions, new figures reveal.
Data released by the Department for Health and Social Care, shows that in 2017, 39.6 per cent of women who underwent the procedure had already been through a termination before.
Last year there were 1023 women who underwent an abortion in the borough, 99.9 per cent of which were funded by the NHS. Of these, 405 had ended a pregnancy previously.
Of these repeat procedures, nine were carried out on teenagers. However, this percentage has decreased since 2013 - when 43 per cent of women seeking abortions had already been through the procedure.
Across England, an average of 38.8 per cent of all abortions were reported as repeat abortions for 2017, putting Wigan above the national average. This proportion has been slowly increasing nationally, from 32 per cent in 2007.
Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council said: “We are continuously working with Spectrum CIC and our other health partners to educate local people around sexual health.
“We recognise that this work is ongoing and we will continue to link with GP practices and schools to increase our education offer and establish a community information offer, alongside increasing access to contraception choices.
“It is important to note that our abortion rates of under 18’s in Wigan Borough are in line with the England average and this is a trend we would like to continue.
“We strive to have different conversations with our residents so we can further understand the range of circumstances that may contribute to repeat, unwanted pregnancies.
“This understanding will enable us to build a bespoke support offer for them and connect them to opportunities in their local community.”
Belinda Loftus, Head of Service for Integrated Sexual Health at Spectrum Healthcare CIC said: “Our sexual health services are available across the Wigan district to support residents with many sexual health issues.
“We also have a partnership approach across health and non-health partners to improve awareness of the many methods of contraception, including long acting methods to reduce unwanted pregnancies.”
Information obtained from Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has revealed that each medical procedure carried out before 10 weeks costs the NHS £312 - meaning that repeat abortions cost the borough’s healthcare services a minimum of £126,000 last year.
Surgical procedures, however, at the same period of gestation - cost the NHS at least £755, a figure which increases after 14 weeks.
The majority of terminated abortions (77.8 per cent) funded by CCG were carried out before 10 weeks.
Of the hundreds which took place over the 12-month-period reflected in the Government figures, 67.6 per cent were medical abortions which involves taking medication to end the pregnancy.
It is not a procedure which requires any surgery or an anaesthetic, and can be used at any stage of pregnancy.