A new resource to help UK clinicians determine both men and women's eligibility for the different forms of contraception has been produced by the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care's (FFPRHC) Clinical Effectiveness Unit and distributed to all general practices and relevant specialist services throughout the UK.
The UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (UKMEC, 2005/2006) manual has been developed and adapted from the World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (WHOMEC, 2004), and is designed to help all clinicians facilitate safe contraceptive prescribing throughout the UK.
The evidence-based resource categorises the safety of use of each method of contraception in women with coexistent medical conditions to aid clinicians to advise women on safe contraceptive use. This should enable clients and clinicians to choose contraceptive methods in a safe manner, without unnecessary medical restrictions.
It covers the full range of contraceptive methods currently available in the UK, including: combined oral contraceptives; progestogen-only methods (pills, injectables, implants); intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormone systems (IUS); emergency contraception; barrier methods; and fertility awareness methods, including lactational amenorrhoea.
Dr Chris Wilkinson, vice president of the FFPRHC says, "Having a UK adaptation of the Medical Eligibility Criteria will, for the first time, make the WHO guidance clearly relevant to UK practice, and facilitate improved contraceptive care for women making contraceptive choices."
Laminated summary sheets within the resource provide quick reference for common reversible methods specifically for use within the busy clinical environment, which clinicians can copy for use within their own clinic setting.
Copies of UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (2005/2006) can be downloaded for free from the Faculty website at www.ffprhc.org.uk