THE number of teen pregnancies in St Helens has fallen in recent years, according to new figures.
However, the rate of conception among under-18s remains significantly higher than the national average.
The figures - released by the Office of National Statistics - reveal that 147 under-18s conceived during 2011, a decrease of 18 per cent from the previous year’s total of 180.
However, the rate of conceptions in under-18s per 1,000 stands at 45.4, higher than the nationwide average of 30.7 and the North West’s 35.3.
St Helens Council’s cabinet member for public health admitted that further work is required to ensure that statistics reduce even further.
Coun Sue Murphy, said: “We are pleased to see that the number of teenage conceptions has fallen but maintaining that decrease remains a priority for the council for its partner agencies.
“It’s a complex issue and there are no quick solutions.
“But the cornerstones of our approach are easy access to community sexual health services for young people.
“We’re making it as straightforward as possible for young people to get hold of contraceptives through a range of initiatives, which we promote constantly through our Teenage Advice Zone service.
“This includes the ‘Clinic in a Box’ service and the C-Card scheme, which gives people access to contraceptives.
“We also work closely with schools and youth centre to raise awareness of the issue.”
St Helens’ rate of girls going on to become mothers is 24.7 per 1,000 with an average of 15.6 across the country.
While abortion figures among under 18s also show a steady reduction with 20.7 per 1,000 in 2011, compared to 22.2 in 2010 although the rate remains higher than the national average of 15.1 per 1,000.
Natinally, many boroughs have report a rise.
For more information about St Helens Council’s Teenage Advice Zone, visit yaz.sthelens.gov.uk/taz/