Hartlepool is in top 10 for teenage pregnancy rates

Hartlepool has been listed as having one of the highest rates for teenage pregnancy across England and Wales.
Hartlepool has been listed as having one of the highest rates for teenage pregnancy across England and Wales.

Hartlepool is in the top 10 areas for the highest pregnancy rates for 15 to 17-year-olds across the country.

While conception rates have fallen across England and Wales to their lowest level, the town has been named by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for still having one of the highest rates, placing it in seventh position.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, interim director of public health at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “While we are disappointed with Hartlepool’s under-18 conception rate for 2015, it is important to note there was a trend of year-on-year reductions in the preceding five years, and since 1998 there has been an overall reduction of 52.6%.

“We are continuing to deliver our early intervention strategy - A Better Childhood in Hartlepool - across the town with a range of partners and this has a key role to play in reducing teenage pregnancy.

“Schools also continue to prioritise relationship and sex education in the curriculum and the council has responsibility for commissioning sexual health services for the town with a particular focus on supporting young people to make informed choices about their sexual health and contraceptive choices.”

The stats relate to 2015, the latest figures available.

Getting it right on teenage pregnancy will not only make a difference to individual lives, it will help narrow inequalities and reduce long-term demand on health and social care services.

Izzi Seccombes

Overall, there were 21 pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls compared with 47.1 in 1969 when records began.

Also in the top 10 council areas were Blackpool with 43.8; Burnley with 41; City of Kingston-upon-Hull with 38.4; North East Lincolnshire with 37.6; Wrexham with 37.1; Denbighshire with 36.9; Halton with 36.6; Thanet with 35.7; Newcastle-under-Lyme with 34.7.

The ONS said there could be a number of factors behind the figures, including a greater focus on education by young women, a stigma associated with being a teenage mother, better sex education and improved access to contraceptives.

Figures show most babies are conceived out of wedlock.

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community and wellbeing board, said: “The Government’s decision to make sex and relationships education compulsory in schools will help young people to develop healthy relationships, delay early pregnancy, and look after their sexual health.

“Getting it right on teenage pregnancy will not only make a difference to individual lives, it will help narrow inequalities and reduce long-term demand on health and social care services.”