Pharmacies on the Isle of Wight are trialling a controversial scheme allowing them to supply the contraceptive pill to girls aged 13 and over.
Ten of the island’s 30 pharmacies will offer the Pill to teenagers without the need for a prescription.
Under the scheme, teenage girls who visit a pharmacy for the morning-after pill will be able to obtain a month’s supply of the contraceptive pill without their parents or a doctor being informed.
After this first month, girls will have to make appointments with their GP or sexual health nurse to get any further supplies.
Church and campaign groups have called the plan “irresponsible” but the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust said it would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies among teenagers.
Jennifer Smith, from the Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust, said: “I would suggest that what we’re doing is being entirely responsible by providing [contraception to] these most vulnerable women, for whom, for the most part, pregnancy is not a good outcome.
“They are already sexually active, we haven’t encouraged them to be sexually active.”
She added that the scheme would link teenagers with “people most able to support them in further decision-making and appropriate behaviour in the future”.