Young women should be given access to the morning after pill to keep at home in case they need it, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Nurses, pharmacies and doctors should "ensure all young women are able to obtain free emergency hormonal contraception, including advance provision", while other contraceptives, such as condoms, should be made more readily available "in a range of types and sizes" at easy access locations such as schools and youth clubs.
Nursing staff play a key role in encouraging young, sexually active women to discuss their contraceptive needs and offer straight-talking advice about the effectiveness of emergency contraception, NICE said.
Young women should also be given information about the "limitations of emergency hormonal contraception as a primary method" as well as being advised that "emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is used".
The guidance says all sexual health bodies which provide contraception should endeavour to offer young people a full range, at convenient opening times.
The NICE guidelines have been published as part of a drive to improve overall access to contraception and family planning advice.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Emergency should mean emergency. Supplying EC pre-SI is going against all the teaching to use protection in the first place. Education is the key and easy access when accidents occur. Pre-issue is giving the wrong message" - Dorrett Graham, London
"Looks like NICE guidelines are once again way behind good practice - what a load of money wasted on bureaucracy. I work in sexual health and, yes, we have given advanced POEC for about the last 2 years and now it is regular practice if deemed suitable. I personally tend to only give it to those going away etc who will be unable to access it if they need it - I have found if given more often, people tend to rely on it, but then that's better than not using anything as so many are. Of course, the counselling, education we repeatedly spend time on is paramount. What do the government really think we do?
Why don't they just accept that until they bring relationship education into the school programme at an early age as a very concrete part of the curriculum - as they do in Scandinavia and Holland - little will change" - Karen, London
"No I do not agree. They should be learning more about alternative long term methods of contraception or development in relationships. This way it will be too easy to have casual sex and go for map. Where I work it is freely available but counselling is important and advice on STDs" - Margaret, Belfast
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