Introduction: Recently published national guidance in England recommended that increased use of long-acting reversible methods of contraception could reduce unintended pregnancy rates. Usage rates of long-acting reversible methods of contraception in the UK are currently low. Since these methods require medical intervention, attitudes of professionals are important determinants of prevalence of use.
Study design: A questionnaire survey was conducted of 321 health professionals working in general practice which sought practitioner views on safety, efficacy and acceptability of contraceptive methods, and on the feasibility and desirability of prescribing long-acting methods.
Results: A high proportion of practitioners (80.2%) endorsed the role of LARC in preventing teenage pregnancy, but fewer than half (47.1%) saw them as returning to favor. The combined oral contraceptive pill is still the mainstay of prescriptions. Lack of skill in providing was seen by 60.6% as a barrier to provision of long-acting methods of contraception. Half of respondents (50.3%) thought that irregular bleeding deterred women from using LARC and 20.6% were concerned about high discontinuation rates. Misconceptions about side effects of contraceptive methods were common.
Conclusion: Investment in professional education and training is needed for health professionals in general practice if the goal of increased provision of long-acting contraceptive methods is to be realized.