ACT Health Services “confident” in contraceptive study, wary of broader introduction | The Canberra times



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Canberra’s Women’s Health Services have relied on a federally funded study that offers birth control advice to people on emergency contraception, but says it needs to be carefully implemented to avoid becoming another barrier for women. The study, led by Monash University, aims to educate women on emergency contraception or the medical abortion pill more about all of their birth control options, but has come under fire since it was announced last week. Tim Bavinton, ACT executive director for sexual health and family planning, said the plan could improve education and would be welcomed as long as women have the opportunity to opt out. He added that if the pilot is successful, the program must be carried out carefully so that it does not discourage women from getting the drugs. “I am sure that the pilot project will be successful because these pharmacies are ready [work in that way]”, he said. Mr Bavinton said women in various facilities, including pharmacies, have already reported some difficulties in accessing emergency contraception and abortion medicines [access]”The study, led by the university’s General Practitioner, Danielle Mazza, was put to the test after initially” misrepresenting “that counseling would be offered before anyone could get the medication.” The reality is quite clear different, “said Professor Mazza.” The ALLIANCE study offers women the opportunity to obtain evidence-based information about all of their contraceptive options from a specially trained pharmacist in a private consultation room in the pharmacy. “This offer is made after the woman has taken an emergency contraceptive or completed her medical abortion prescription. “The four-year, $ 2.5 million study is being rolled out in pharmacies in NSW, Victoria, and the Northern Territory. The study aims to address a leading cause of unwanted pregnancies – lack of education. Julia Tran, Health Promotion Officer for Women’s Health Matters Heiten said many women were unaware of the full range of options and the majority of GPs pointed them straight to the oral contraceptive pill. “I do not see [the trial] as a deterrent because there is a possibility, “she said.” If such a conversation is to be offered, it has to be in the right context and appropriate to the patient. “This information needs to be presented in a trauma-sensitive manner.” She hoped this could also lead to more training for pharmacists in communicating with women about long-term contraception. ACT Women’s Minister Yvette Berry warned of the “unintended consequences” of the trial. “There are many reasons women need to access the morning-after pill and medical abortions, even after non-consensual sex,” she said. “Women should not feel that they are being judged or criticized for having access to health services. who told The Age she was concerned that women would feel “judged rather than informed”. It came after Ms. Williams on Twitter accused the federal government of pushing a “not-so-subtle pro-life agenda,” Anthony Tassone said the use of the term “contraceptive advice” may have misconstrued people. “In the context of pharmacist practice, ‘advice’ refers to the provision of drug information and other advice that meets the needs and inquiries of the patient,” he said. “Pharmacists have been involved in providing emergency contraceptives without a prescription for over a decade, following a protocol that is backed up by professional guidelines to ensure it is safe and appropriate for patients. “I’ve stopped counting the number of times a patient has spoken to a patient who was unfamiliar with other contraceptive options, the time frame in which emergency contraception is effective, and what action to take if certain side effects occur.” The emergency pill has been available without a prescription since 2004. A form must be filled out upon receipt. A medical abortion pill requires a prescription from a doctor. Professor Mazza said the study would provide women with written information about the service and signage in pharmacies. Our journalists work hard to bring local, breaking news to the community. Here’s how you can still access our trusted content:



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