Analysis of uptake in this part relates to females only (female and male attending together will be recorded as a female contact), and just those for whom a method of contraception was recorded during the year; this was 467,642 females in 2020/21.
Almost all contraception provided to males by SRH services is the male condom (99%), with spermicides and natural family planning representing the only other options available.
For all data on main method of contraception, a person contacting the same service multiple times during the year will only be counted once. From 2014/15, in cases where there are multiple contacts/methods for the same person, the methodology used to identify the main method was revised. As such, any data broken down by main method prior to 2014/15 is not directly comparable, though general trends over time are not affected. See part C of the Appendices for more details.
Information presented here is not necessarily representative of the uptake of contraception across the whole population. Contraceptives can be obtained from other sources such as GPs or direct from pharmacies, whilst non-prescription items like condoms can be obtained without a visit to a medical specialist. C-card schemes have also improved access to free condoms for young people through alternative channels.
C-card distribution schemes - Why, what and how
Contraceptive methods are classified as either User Dependent or Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs). LARCs are not reliant on regular user adherence. See table 6 of the Excel data tables for inclusions in the User Dependent and LARC classifications.
The NICE guidelines on LARCs for England and Wales published in October 2005 (and updated in 2019) suggested that increased uptake of long-acting methods would reduce unintended pregnancy and be most cost-effective for the NHS.