New guidance from NICE says young women should be given the morning-after pill in advance to keep at home in case they need it.
It claims they should be able to access this and other contraceptive methods at convenient locations to help avoid emergency situations.
It also says doctors, nurses and pharmacies should “ensure all young women are able to obtain free emergency hormonal contraception, including advance provision”.
Nursing staff play a key role in encouraging young, sexually active women to discuss their contraceptive needs and offer straight-talking advice about the effectiveness of emergency contraception, NICE said.
The organisation has suggested that under-25s should be able to get the emergency pill from pharmacies to keep at home in case they need it.
The guidance aims to improve access to all types of contraception, including condoms, at locations familiar to young people, such as schools and youth clubs.
It also instructs those dispensing contraception to discuss it with young women, explaining the range of choice available. For example, it says young women should be “advised that emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is used” while an intrauterine device is more effective in an emergency.
Young women need to be “given information about the limitations of emergency hormonal contraception as a primary method”.
And the guidance recommends that “condoms should be provided alongside other methods of contraception”.