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Probe as teen pregnancy rate soars

A seaside town has launched an investigation into why its teenage pregnancy rate is 40% above the national average.

Dorset Primary Care Trust's 2006 Public Health Report found 59 out of every 1,000 teenagers in Weymouth and Portland aged between 15 and 17 become pregnant.

This figure compares with 49 out of every 1,000 for the county, and 42 out of 1,000 for England.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is now looking at ways in which healthcare professionals can help cut the number of teenage pregnancies in the area.

The review will include interviews with young mothers, and will look at the support available and the impact on council services and other agencies.

This is the first time the council has ever assessed the measures offered by other bodies in providing services such as pregnancy support and sexual health advice.

Councillor Brian Ellis, chairman of the authority's scrutiny committee, said: "Teenage pregnancy is an issue that has a major impact on local people's lives and cuts across the work of many different agencies.

"As members of the scrutiny committee we need to provide strong community leadership on this kind of issue, and challenge both the council and other agencies to ensure that residents are getting the support they need."

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Dorset Primary Care Trust

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