New figures show that the numbers of teenagers getting pregnant in Derbyshire is the lowest it has ever been.
The figures, released this week by the Office for National Statistics, show that nationally, the numbers of girls under 18 getting pregnant has dropped by 9.8 per cent to 27.7 per 1,000 between 2011 and 2012 – which is also the lowest it has been since 1998, when the records began.
In Derbyshire, the drop is even greater at 13.6 per cent - a rate of 22.3 per 1,000 – over the same period.
While the trend is downwards in Derbyshire, there are differences in teenage pregnancy rates across the county, with the highest rate in Chesterfield and the lowest rate in Derbyshire Dales. However, the gap between districts with higher and lower rates has been narrowing since around 2004.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Coun Dave Allen said: “It is really encouraging to see not only that Derbyshire’s overall teenage pregnancy is at an all-time low, but that the gap between districts is also narrowing.
“It’s clear that teenage pregnancy is not inevitable and can be prevented, even in areas where rates have been high in the past.”
Coun Allen added: “We need to sustain the progress we are seeing and there is no room for complacency. We still have a way to go before bringing rates in line with other Western European countries.”
Ways of reducing the teenage pregnancy rate further include providing high quality sex and relationships education, combined with easy access to youth friendly contraceptive services.
Young people in Derbyshire can access a range of support and information in schools and other settings, to help them develop healthy relationships and have safer sex.
For example, the Sexual Health Promotion service offers the C-card scheme – a scheme aimed at young people to improve information and access to free condoms.
And girls can also get free emergency contraception through local pharmacies and CASH (Contraception and Sexual Health), clinics or at their GPs.