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Training blamed for Implanon failure

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Inadequate training could have caused contraceptive devices to be fitted incorrectly in women who later became pregnant, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has said.

The Implanon device, which is inserted in the arm by a nurse or other clinician, hit the headlines last week after patients sued for compensation.

The FSRH told Nursing Times the money earmarked for contraception training in a three-year programme beginning in 2006 had not all been used for that purpose.

Vice-president Alyson Elliman said: “The funding wasn’t ringfenced. Some of the primary care trusts that were in debt used it to shore that up. That may mean less access by women to the full range of contraception provided by appropriately trained staff.”

Around 4 million people a year use contraceptive services. Roughly three-quarters access them through a GP and the rest through a specialist clinic.

Partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors Stephanie Prior, who is representing some of the claimants, told Nursing Times: “Training is one of the issues here. A lot of the cases I have had related to the insertion technique.”

The Royal College of Nursing’s adviser for midwifery and women’s health Jane Denton said: “One of the concerns we have seen reported [in the media] is a failure of this technique. If nurses are carrying out this procedure, they should have the appropriate training, for which guidance is set.”

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said that, correctly fitted, Implanon was “safe, effective and reliable”.

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