Sexual Health Week takes place from February 12 -18.
With a range of contraception options to choose from, we’re supporting the Public Health Agency’s campaign to ensure that you can find the contraception that works best for you.
We had a chat with Dr Sharon Porter, Northern Trust Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Consultant, to find out more.
Can you tell us what contraceptive services the Northern Trust offers?
In the Northern Trust we provide a variety of contraceptive methods and advice about your sexual and reproductive health, free of charge.
It’s important to remember that contraception is required until menopause and if used correctly has a high chance of preventing pregnancy. There are many types of contraception available and we can help you decide. Long acting reversible methods include the copper coil (IUD), hormonal coil (IUS), implant and injectables or we can offer short acting approaches such as pills. Don’t forget that only condoms can protect against both Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.
Emergency contraception (pills and coil) can also be provided. If you require emergency contraception the sooner you act, the better. Appointments are available on a same day basis so please don’t delay.
Where can I access these services?
Confidential contraception and sexual health services are provided across four locations in the Northern Trust – Causeway Hospital, Braid Valley in Ballymena, Mid Ulster Hospital and Glengormley Community Clinics.
Healthcare professionals such as GPs can refer to this service but most people prefer to self-refer through the central booking number on 028 2826 6163 which is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
Contraception is also available free of charge from your GP, pharmacist, online from SH:24 and Common Youth if under 25.
Can young people access your service?
Our services are available for all those requiring contraception, irrespective of age. Common Youth also specifically provide contraception for those under 25.
For people who haven’t accessed contraceptive services in the Northern Trust before what is your message for them?
Our vision is that all those within the Northern Trust can promptly access a compassionate, confidential, non-judgemental service which supports their right to reproductive choice. Get in touch so we can help you with this aspect of your healthcare.
Can you tell us a bit about abortion services?
Abortion services are provided by the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland. The type of abortion service available will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are.
Early abortion services for pregnancies less than 12 weeks are fully established. Medical abortion is available for pregnancies up to 24 weeks (and over 24 weeks in limited circumstances).
Surgical abortion is available for up to 20 weeks and work is ongoing to establish a service for pregnancies up to 24 weeks.
For abortion services that are not yet available in Northern Ireland, you can access free abortion care in Great Britain.
How does a woman access this service?
To get abortion care, you must contact the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) which offers advice, counselling and access to abortion services.
BPAS can be contacted by completing an online booking form or by calling 0345 730 4030.