Girls as young as 10 have been given the contraceptive implant, potentially exposing them to ‘horrendous abuse’.
The primary school age children are among thousands of minors given the slow-release contraceptive device since 2010 despite being far under the age of consent.
The implants, which have never been tested on under-18s, were given to at least three 10-year-olds in the last five years, according to figures obtained by MailOnline.
Girls as young as 10 have been given the contraceptive implant, potentially exposing them to ‘horrendous abuse’, an expert has warned (file picture)
East Lancashire NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, in Liverpool, each gave the implant to a 10-year-old during the last five years.
Meanwhile South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, based in Torbay, gave the contraceptive device to a 10 or 11-year-old, but would not specify which.
During the last five years, at least 53 12-year-olds were given the implant, as well as a minimum of 281 13-year-olds.
More than 3,000 14-year-olds and at least 6,300 girls aged 15 were also given the device, which releases the hormone progesterone to prevent pregnancy, inserted under the skin in their arms.
A total of 61 NHS Trusts across England admitted they had fitted the implants in minors after a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by MailOnline.
The numbers are likely to be even higher, as dozens of Trusts did not or were unable to provide full figures.
BREAKDOWN OF THE AGES OF GIRLS GIVEN THE IMPLANT
Despite the Nexplanon implants never being tested on children, there is a strong possibility that hundreds of minors given the contraceptives had them fitted without the knowledge of their parents.
Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, said: ‘Fitting young girls with contraceptive implants is quite simply indefensible. It is giving them the green light to engage in illegal sexual activity and robbing them of the protection that the age of consent law is intended to give.
‘This casual and relaxed attitude towards underage sex is exposing young people to the most horrendous abuse.
‘The fact that the safety of these implants has not been established for girls under the age of 18 in itself means that health professionals are taking a massive risk with the immediate and long-term health of these girls.
‘It is deeply disturbing that parents are frequently left completely in the dark and know nothing about the high-stakes gamble that is being taken on the physical and emotional well-being of their daughters.
‘There needs to be an urgent review of the policies of NHS Trusts in relation to underage sex and the provision of contraception to children.’
The primary school age children are among thousands of minors given the slow-release contraceptive device since 2010 despite being far under the age of consent
According to the NHS website, the implants can cause headaches, acne, nausea and mood swings in adults using them.
Nexplanon manufacturers MSD said the contraceptive’s ‘efficacy’ had only been established in women aged between 18 and 40.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘It is extremely rare that doctors prescribe contraceptives to under-13s, and while we would not comment on individual cases, the doctor is likely to be acting on serious concerns about exploitation or abuse.
‘Guidance from the GMC states that doctors must as a matter of routine share information about sexual activity involving children under 13 with police or social services.’
HOW DOES THE IMPLANT WORK?
A spokesperson for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: ‘Only under extremely rare circumstances would a patient under the age of 13 ever receive a contraceptive implant.
‘This is never taken lightly and would be a decision made between a healthcare professional and the parent or guardian as a result of health problems or in order to safeguard the child.’
Vanessa Hollings, from the family care division at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We cannot comment on specific cases due to patient confidentiality but any contraceptive implants are fitted in compliance with national guidance on consent, competence and safeguarding.’
A spokesman for South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: 'Contraceptive implants for girls under the age of consent are not issued lightly. Serious consideration is given to each individual situation including liaising with the patient themselves, the Safeguarding Team and with the patient’s parents or guardians.
'Implants would only be used where it is in the girl’s best interests and where consent is given by the parents or guardians.'
“Contraceptive implants for girls under the age of consent are not issued lightly. Serious consideration is given to each individual situation including liaising with the patient themselves, the Safeguarding Team and with the patient’s parents or guardians. Implants would only be used where it is in the girl’s best interests and where consent is given by the parents or guardians.”
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust said the implant may have been used for medical reasons, such as when a child was suffering from heavy periods, but otherwise they do not offer Nexplanon.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2860855/Girls-young-TEN-given-contraceptive-implant-sparking-fears-puts-risk-horrendous-abuse.html#ixzz3Q8IZwaoM
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