A new survey on the experiences of women in accessing contraception has been launched by the Advisory Group on Contraception (AGC).
The organisation is calling for women of all backgrounds to share their experiences to support efforts to address inequalities in reproductive health.
The aim of the survey – launched in collaboration with the English HIV and Sexual Health Commissioners Group – is to gain understanding of these experiences and ‘shine a light on the fundamental access barriers to contraceptive provision with policy makers’, the AGC said.
The organisation cited government figures showing a 42% real-terms reduction in contraceptive spend across England since 2015/16.
Last month, Nursing in Practice highlighted a ‘major impact’ on the provision of contraception care caused by a shortage of general practice nurses (GPNs) and those trained to fit coils and implants.
It was reported that practices are struggling to keep up with demand, leaving those wishing to use these methods ‘disadvantaged’, facing long wait times, and in some cases forced to travel to other practices or sexual health services.
The AGC pointed out that in the government’s own public call for evidence, only 40% of women reported being able to conveniently access the services they need in terms of location, with just 24% reporting convenient timing of access, especially in relation to contraception.
An AGC spokesperson said: ‘It is long-established that while damaging to all women, nowhere is the impact of cuts and reduced provision starker than among vulnerable groups.
‘And yet, to date, there is little research at a granular level into what barriers exist to those in marginalised groups, when it comes to accessing contraception.’
The AGC project is focused on vulnerable groups, but the survey is open to all women in the hope that the findings might provide ‘impactful insights into the depth of inequalities in women’s reproductive health’, the spokesperson added.