A review of family planning services provided by the Portsmouth and South-East Hampshire Health Authority in 1988 concluded that more needed to be known about why people used the services and who attended which clinic. In order to address this need, therefore, a survey was conducted on November 8, 1992 among 7 of the most heavily used health authority family planning clinics (FPC) and 7 general practitioner (GP) practices which offer contraceptive services. The GP practices were located close to FPCs. 3 additional GPs were added, of which 2 were not in the health authority area, and 1 was a branch. The survey instrument, which was developed by a select steering group is presented in its entirety. A 96% response rate was achieved. Results showed a median age of 24 years among clinic attendees and an age range of 16-47 years. FPCs tended to have younger clients. There were no differences between GPs and FPCs in the number of miscarriages experienced. FPCs had a large proportion of single (40%), never-married women, while GPs had primarily married or cohabiting women patients. 94% of the GP group reported that the GP practice was their usual location for contraceptive services, while 83% in the FPC group reported the FPC as their usual location. GP use may reflect habit and clinics may attract a more mobile population or referrals. The question pertaining to the usual source of FP advice and information elicited ambiguous responses. Of the data tabulated by age, it appears that 14-16 year old were more likely to choose another FPC, whereas women in other age groups were likely to seek advice from a GP. The reasons for attending a FPC were to be able to consult a woman doctor and to obtain contraceptive supplies. Personal attention from one's own doctor was the reason given for attendance at GP groups. Both facilities reported that oral contraceptives were the most common method used. FPC tended to prescribe alternatives, particularly to young acceptors who were more likely to use oral contraceptives with a barrier method. Contraceptive knowledge is obtained wherever women normally go for advice. Both types of facilities have a continuing and complementary role.
|Number of pages
|British Journal of Family Planning
|Published - 1993