Background Effectiveness of barrier and oral contraceptive pills is dependent on daily adherence and consistency that cannot always be guaranteed by military lifestyle. Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods could provide a good alternative to guarantee effective contraception in unpredictable scenarios, and recent studies have suggested they could provide wider non-contraceptive benefits. LARC has been proven to be more cost effective than the combined oral contraceptive pill. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released guidelines on contraception provision to ensure all women receive the contraception method that is most appropriate to the individual.
Method A retrospective audit of 105 sets of primary healthcare notes of serving female soldiers was assessed to establish contraceptive choices and whether appropriate information had been provided within the last year of their last consultation.
Results 100% had seen a healthcare provider capable of providing contraceptive advice in the last year. 69% documented as using some form of non-surgical contraception versus 58% quoted as national usage. 21% were using some form of LARC versus 8% national usage. 66% of eligible women had not had LARC discussed with them, and of these 50% did not have any contraceptive usage documented. Among other consultations, 41% had had a medical within the year period, of which over half had no documented contraceptive status.
Conclusions As military healthcare providers, we have more exposure to our patients than NHS equivalents and this small study suggests there is an increased demand for contraception. Contraceptive choice counselling should be a mandatory part of routine initial medicals. If the situation demands a medical for any other reason, a documented contraception status should form an important part of the risk assessment process.
- PRIMARY CARE
- PUBLIC HEALTH