A decision to wipe out the contraceptive coil for women from GPs across Hillingdon has caused 'extreme concern'.
The Hillingdon Health and Wellbeing board, which met on Thursday, December 3, saw all present voting in favour of the move to decommission the IUCD or intrauterine contraceptive device, apart from Hillingdon's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The CCG is responsible for planning and buying healthcare on behalf of the local population in the borough of Hillingdon.
Dr Ian Goodman, chair of Hillingdon CCG, called the change a “totally indefensible decision” that will be “bad for the people of Hillingdon”.
He said: “It cannot be justified on the basis of clinical evidence or funding.
“Some parts of our borough have teenage pregnancy rates nearly twice the national average and providing IUCDs is one important way of avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
“Responsibility for this service moved to the Council in April 2012 and the funding for these services was passed to the Council. In addition to this funding, an extra £4million for public health initiatives was transferred in 2013.
“So we cannot understand why this decision has been made now. We are also very concerned that no health impact assessment or equalities impact assessment was carried out prior to this decision being made.”
Women advised to visit specialist clinics
Figures for Hillingdon borough show that 590 women used the IU device, which is 10% of the overall women who used contraceptive services, in 2014/15.
Nationally, the age of women who tend to use this method of contraception, as opposed to condoms and the implant, tend to be in age brackets between 25-34 and 35-44 and the coil was not used at all by anyone aged under 16 in the same period of time.
But the row over cutting the service has begged the question of how money that will be saved will now be spent.
Dr Goodman said: “The council, through the Health and Wellbeing Board, needs to set out how money previously used for IUCDs and sexual health services is being spent.
“Local GPs and I are extremely concerned about what this decision means for patients and we have asked the council to inform local women and GP practices as a matter of urgency where alternative IUCD contraceptive services will be available in future.”
A Hillingdon Council spokesperson assured that women who live in the borough will still have full access to free coil contraception.
The said: “The only change is that instead of visiting their GPs they will go to a specialist clinic which the council is funding.
“The service at GPs was one that the council has funded as a goodwill gesture since 2014.
“A decision was made to decommission this after a long running funding dispute with the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group.”
Dr Raj Grewal, Healthwatch Hillingdon Operations Coordinator, is open to hearing the views of women affected by the change.
He said: “If you would like to share your views and experiences on accessing contraceptive services, please contact the independent local health watchdog, Healthwatch Hillingdon, by calling 01895 272997 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Women can still request an appointment at one of these clinics by contacting the Contraception and Sexual & Reproductive Health Service at 01895 488 890:
Uxbridge Health Centre, Chippendale Waye, Uxbridge
- Monday 12pm to 3pm
- Wednesday 9am to 12pm
- Thursday 9am to12.30pm
- Friday 9am to12.30pm
Hesa Primary Care Centre, 52 Station Road, Hayes
- Wednesday 1pm to 4pm