HSE announces free prescription and emergency contraception for 17 to 25 year old women and people

sexual wellbeing

Today (Wednesday, 14th September), the HSE launched a new service to provide free prescription and emergency contraception for 17 to 25 year old women and people.

Full details, including how to access free contraception is available on SexualWellbeing.ie

The free contraception service will cover the full cost of prescription contraception, including the cost of:

·       GP or doctor’s appointments – to talk about contraception options and for repeat prescriptions when needed

·       any prescriptions given by your doctor – these will be given free of charge at participating pharmacies

·       your choice of contraception – from a wide range of short-term and long-term contraceptives such as the patch, pill, ring, implant, injection and IUDs

·       fittings and removals of implants and IUDs or IUSs (coils) 

·       any check-ups or other follow up care needed, relating to your implant or coil

·       emergency contraception (morning after pill).

To access the service you will need to give a participating GP your PPS number, your date of birth, name and address.

Emergency contraception can be provided by participating pharmacies directly, without the need for a GP visit. You will need to give a participating pharmacy your PPS number, date of birth, name and address.

The scheme is open to GPs to register from today.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said: I am very pleased to share the news that the free contraception scheme is launching today.  Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefitting their partners and families.”

Maeve O’Brien, Interim Programme Lead for the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme commented: “This new service is a welcome development. As part of the service, the HSE is launching a campaign to promote the free contraception service and the range of contraceptive options available over the coming weeks. As a first step, we are encouraging those who may be eligible to visit SexualWellbeing.ie to learn more about the service, the contraception options available and how they work. This information will help to support discussions with your GP.”

Dr Ciara McCarthy, ICGP/HSE GP Clinical Lead in Women’s Health added: “Finding a suitable method of contraception will depend on your needs, your medical history and your own preferences. I would encourage anyone thinking about contraception for the first time, or thinking about changing their contraception, to speak to their GP about the options available. GPs are in a good position to discuss the options and advise about side effects or the method that will suit your needs best. The free GP consultations covered under the new service will give anyone considering availing of free contraception the chance to discuss these questions in full before making an informed decision.”

A digital, social and outdoor campaign will go live in the coming weeks to promote the availability the free contraception service, the contraceptive choices available and the importance of discussing these options with your GP.

More information about contraceptive options and the new service is available at sexualwellbeing.ie.  Also, follow Sexual Wellbeing on Facebook and Instagram.

A Plain English guide ‘What you need to know about contraception’ has been produced by the HSE.  The guide is available in nine languages and will be made available across 800+ waiting rooms including GP surgeries, Health Centres and Hospitals. The guide is also available to order from www.healthpromotion.ie and to download from here https://www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/contraception/resources/

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