Concern over rise in teenage pregnancies in Didcot

TEENAGE pregnancies are on the increase in Didcot, despite a decline across the rest of the county.

Figures show there has been a drop in the number of under-18 conceptions across Oxfordshire in the past five years, from 1,087 in 2004-6 to 900 in 2008-10.

All of the individual wards have either seen drops in figures or have remained the same, apart from Didcot’s All Saints ward.

In 2004-6 there were 12 conceptions in the area.

By 2008-10 – the latest figures available – this had risen to 19.

Angela Baker, Oxfordshire’s consultant in public health, said overall the figures were lower than the national average and as a county, performance was in the top 20 per cent across the country.

But she added: “Our success is down to the approach we have taken, targeting the wards with the highest rates in a consistent way.

“We need to remain vigilant and ensure that the rates remain low, especially in a few hotspots where the rates have not fallen as fast in neighbouring areas.”

She added: “Wards with the highest number of conceptions are Northfield Brook and the two Banbury wards of Ruscote and Grimsbury and Castle.

“All Saints has very small numbers of conceptions but an upward trend, which is cause for concern.”

Town councillor for All Saints, Jane Murphy, said: “It is obviously a cause for concern but it is difficult to pinpoint one cause.

“In general I feel that the recession has lowered individuals’ aspirations and this can only be addressed by education both generally and sexually as well as finding career opportunities for young people.”

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