Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Provider-based barriers to provision of intrauterine contraception in general practice
  1. Lesley Hoggart1,
  2. Susan Walker2,
  3. Victoria Louise Newton1,
  4. Mike Parker3
  1. 1 Faculty of Health and Social Care, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK
  3. 3 Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Post Graduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lesley Hoggart, Faculty of Health and Social Care, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK; lesley.hoggart{at}


Objectives Intrauterine contraception (IUC) is highly effective, safe and long-lasting, but is not a popular method of contraception among British women. This study examined barriers to the uptake of IUC in general practice in England.

Method A sequential mixed-method approach to explore the views of practitioners regarding the provision of IUC. We e-surveyed 208 practitioners from 69 practices in a region of England and subsequently interviewed 14 practitioners from eight practices.

Results Just under half of general practitioners (GPs) (46.8%; 58/124), and only 8.2% (4/49) of nurses reported being trained to fit IUC. Lack of knowledge of IUC was a barrier to fitting, and also to recommending IUC, especially by practitioners who were not trained to fit. There was discordance between reported knowledge of eligibility for IUC and the likelihood of recommending IUC. Respondents were less likely to recommend IUC to young, nulliparous women, women who had experienced a previous ectopic pregnancy, a recent sexually transmitted infection (STI), or an abnormal cervical smear. The qualitative data indicate that risk aversion and limited training, together with practitioners’ assessments that women are uninterested, may lead to IUC being precluded as a suitable method.

Conclusions Increased practitioner education, for those not trained to fit IUC, may remove a barrier to the uptake of IUC in general practice. More research is required on the discordance between the practitioners’ views on the characteristics of women considered suitable for IUC, and the criteria set out in the UK Medical Eligibility Criteria (UKMEC) guidelines.

  • intrauterine devices
  • intrauterine systems
  • general practice
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • contraceptive barriers

Statistics from


  • Funding This study was funded by Bayer PLC, manufacturers of several types of intrauterine devices and systems. The funder played no part in the design or implementation of the research, other than requesting that the authors explored, in the qualitative interviews, the participants’ opinion of a new product, Jaydess. The funder has had no influence over the article as written and submitted for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval NRES Committee London South East (14/LO/0004).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles