Teenage girls in schools in Southampton have been given contraceptive implants, without their parents' knowledge. This has happened following the government's decision to try radical measures to reduce teenage pregnancies.
Apparently the girls have been fitted with implants (in some cases, injections were used), which then temporarily prevent pregnancies by injecting hormones into the bloodstream.
Last year, according to a Daily Mail report, between 1,700 girls (aged 13 - 14) were fitted with the implants, while 800 had injections; 2010/11 National Health Service (NHS) figures suggest 3,200 15-year-old girls were fitted with implants and 1,700 had injections.
The revelations have sparked an outrage among parents, who were unaware of the whole procedure. The NHS experts in the area, however, have defended their decision.
The schools and colleges in question are under a scheme run by NHS Solent, who have said teenage pregnancies in Southampton had dropped by 22 percent. Furthermore, they insisited they had sent letters to the parents in 2009.
"NHS Southampton is committed to ensuring local young people are able to access clinically appropriate sexual health support, advice and treatment to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. One element of this is commissioning a sexual health service for young people that is provided in nine secondary schools and all three colleges across the city," read a statement released by the organisation.
"The service is provided by trained staff and includes offering information, advice and support to students as well as chlamydia screening, condom distribution, pregnancy testing, providing a range of contraception methods and referral to other services. Since the service was introduced there has been a reduction in the number of under- 16-year-olds who have become pregnant," the statement added.
"Young people should think carefully before having sex. If they decide the time is right, they should talk to an adult about contraception," the Huffington Post quoted a Department of Health spokesman as saying.
The contraceptive implants last for three years before they need replacement. Injections are effective for up to three months.
Britain has one of the highest rates of underage pregnancies in Europe.