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Provision of emergency hormonal contraception through community pharmacies in a rural area
  1. Kate Lloyd, MA, Dip HV, Sexual Health Lead and
  2. Edward Gale, BScPharm, MRPharmS, Prescribing Adviser
  1. Public Health Directorate, Hambleton and Richmondshire Primary Care Trust, Thirsk, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kate Lloyd, Public Health Directorate, Hambleton and Richmondshire PCT, Station Road Business Park, Thirsk YO7 1PZ, UK. Tel: +44 1845 573843. E-mail: kate.lloyd{at}


Objectives The provision of emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) through community pharmacies was introduced in Hambleton and Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, UK in December 2001 to contribute to the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. The study aimed to establish how well the service is used, whether it is reaching the original target group, why people use the service and where it is accessed.

Methods This was a descriptive study conducted in a rural primary care trust.

Results From 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2003, there were 1412 pharmacy consultations for EHC and 1260 courses of EHC provided. General practitioner (GP) prescribing of EHC decreased but there was an overall increase in provision of EHC from pharmacies, GPs, family planning clinics, and accident and emergency departments. By December 2003, community pharmacies had become the largest provider of EHC.

Conclusions The supply of EHC through community pharmacies provided clients with wider choice and improved access to services, which resulted in increased overall provision of EC in this rural area.

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