THE number of teenage pregnancies in Wigan borough has fallen to its lowest rate since records began.
The latest figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week show 153 girls aged under-18 became pregnant in 2013.
Reducing teenage pregnancies will continue to be a key priority for public healthProf Kate Adern
This is the fourth consecutive year the number of teenage pregnancies has fallen in the borough with a drop of 157 pregnancies over the last ten years.
The figures also show Wigan Borough’s pregnancy rate is now lower than the average for Greater Manchester and the North West, achieving a 49 per cent reduction from the 1998 baseline which is better than the England average.
Prof Kate Ardern, director for public health at Wigan Council, said: “In the past, teenage pregnancies in the borough have been among the highest in England so it’s encouraging to see these numbers decline.
“I think this is down to the excellent provision we have to help support young people.
“Our modernised sexual health service offers a wide range of support. A doctor is available at all clinics, which opens six days a week and patients are guaranteed an appointment within 48 hours. Brook is also open across the borough seven days a week.
“Reducing teenage pregnancies will continue to be a key priority for public health, as we see it as crucial to tackling wider issues such as child poverty and social exclusion.”
Sexual health services are also available at the walk-in-centre in Leigh, GP practices, pharmacies and through the colleges.
Coun Joanne Platt, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “Wigan Council works hard to ensure children and young people are educated about sexual health and have access to the services available. Our aim is to help young people make safe and healthy choices about sex and relationships.”
The latest figures show that we’re making good progress towards this goal and we will continue to educate and support young people to ensure they are able to make informed decisions about their future.”
If residents have any sexual health concerns they can contact the SHINE Integrated Sexual Health Services on 01942 483188. Those aged under 25 can call Brook on 01942 483180 or visit www.brook.org.uk/wigan-and-leigh