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No regrets for girl, 13, at centre of school contraceptive implant storm
THE 13-year-old girl at the centre of a school contraceptive storm has told the Daily Echo why she wanted the implant fitted.
Yesterday we broke the exclusive news that girls as young as 13 had been fitted with contraceptive implants on school grounds without their parents knowing.
But today the teenager has told the Daily Echo that she has no regrets and believes she was acting responsibly by taking measures to stop herself getting pregnant.
She spoke as health chiefs revealed she is one of 33 students who have received an implant at school since the sexual health service was introduced in Southampton in 2009.
She said: “I don’t regret having the implant, it works really well and I think it is a good service.
“I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex but no other contraception is available or if something goes wrong, I have that peace of mind knowing that I am OK.
“At the time I didn’t want to tell my mum because there are some things you don’t want to talk to your parents about but I am glad I have told her now. I’d rather tell her I’ve had an implant than tell her I was pregnant.
“If I was told I couldn’t have the implant unless I told my mum, I probably would have gone away to think about it and would have eventually got my mum involved.
“But I think there should be the option to have full confidentiality because some children just can’t speak to their parents.
“I do get where my mum is coming from and maybe it shouldn’t be done in school.”
She added that she approached the service asking for the implant and after an hour discussing the issues, during which she was advised to speak to her mum, she was fitted with the Nexplanon device in her arm at their next meeting a week later.
Her mum has criticised the consultation process and particularly the lack of follow-up appointments but the girl said that she was told a follow-up appointment was not compulsory but that she could book another appointment if she had any worries.
The mum, who is proud that her daughter has taken responsibility to protect herself, is today preparing herself for a face-to-face confrontation with health bosses at Solent NHS Trust, where she will demand an apology and a review of the service in schools.
She said: “I believe they have neglected my daughter by not making sure my daughter had a follow-up appointment.
“I want an apology and even though I may not be able to stop this surgical procedure being carried out on school grounds altogether, I at least want changes to be made to ensure every girl that has one is given a compulsory follow-up appointment.”
Health chiefs had told the Daily Echo that letters were sent to all parents at participating schools when the services were launched.
It was then left to individual schools to inform parents of all future students joining, either by letter or in the school prospectus.
NHS Southampton and Solent NHS Trust have defended the service, stressing it was provided by trained staff and highlighting its success by reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies, which is a particular problem in the city.
Last night a spokesman for Solent NHS Trust confirmed 770 pupils had used the services provided in schools, of whom 33 had been fitted with the implant.
They added: “We have a responsibility to provide a confidential service that ensures young people have access to professional advice and information as well as contraception, if appropriate.
“Full assessments are undertaken to ensure that young people are mature enough to understand their choices and are safe.
“School settings offer an opportunity to engage young people in sexual health and relationship information, as part of their overall health and wellbeing.”
They added that the service is fully compliant with national safeguarding legislation and guidance.