Rise in cases of under-16 mums in Sheffield

Jayne Ludlam who has just taken over as Childrens Director for Sheffield City Council
Jayne Ludlam who has just taken over as Childrens Director for Sheffield City Council
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Numbers of teenage mums in Sheffield are falling - but a rise in under 16s having babies is causing concern, a new report reveals.

According to the most recent figures, there has been a ‘notable reduction’ in the number of pregnant girls under 16 choosing to have abortions, from almost 69 per cent to 49 per cent.

In 2011, there were 321 pregnancies among under-18s, down from 368 the year before.

The report will be presented by Jayne Ludlam - the council’s executive director for children, young people and families - at a scrutiny meeting today.

The paper says levels of teen pregnancies vary, from 7.3 per 1,000 in Crosspool to 108.8 per 1,000 in less affluent Lowedges.

But the report adds: “Sheffield is well on target to meet the 2020 conception rate target.

“The continued decline in the Sheffield rate is encouraging and provides a signal that current interventions to address the issue are being effective.”

It continues: “Rates in Sheffield remain higher than the national average, and an increased rate of under-16s going on to deliver is of concern.

“These figures demonstrate a clear need to continue prioritising partnership and commissioning action to address the issue.”

In 2011, 3.7 per cent of all conceptions in Sheffield were to girls aged under 18.

The council says it is targeting young people through its newly-redesigned Integrated Sexual Health Service, run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

A review is taking place, including focusing facilities on certain districts, offering long-acting contraception in non-clinical settings more frequently, and looking at how the morning-after pill is currently offered to girls aged 14 to 17.

Public health workers are also reviewing how effective school PHSE lessons are.

The council wants to find ways of saving £600,000 from its annual payment to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for providing sexual health services.