Mother’s fury after 14-year-old daughter denied contraceptive pill by pharmacist
A mother has shared her fury after her teenage daughter was "discriminated against" by a pharmacist who refused to give her the contraceptive pill.
The 14-year-old girl from Brighton, who does not wish to be named, had her own appointment with a nurse who issued her with the prescription.
She then went to the Lloyds Pharmacy in Lewes Road Sainsbury’s in Brighton to collect it but was told she was too young to be prescribed the medication and needed a parent with her.
She was given the prescription for medical reasons and not for contraception.
Her mother Cherise Johnson told The Argus: “My daughter was told that it is against the law to issue this prescription to under 16s.
“This is not true. My daughter phoned me and I went to the pharmacy to speak to the pharmacist in question.
“He told me my daughter should not be having sex, was adamant that my daughter should have had a parent with her and insinuated that I was a bad parent because of it.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which published guidelines for the NHS, has guidance on prescribing contraceptive prescriptions to under 16s.
It states: “A doctor or health professional is able to provide contraception, sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment, without parental knowledge or consent, to a young person aged under 16, provided that she/he understands the advice provided and its implications.”
The same pharmacy previously came under fire when a woman was denied the morning-after pill by a female member of staff who cited “personal reasons”.
Ms Johnson has reported her daughter’s experience to the General Pharmaceutical Council which is investigating the incident.
She said: “My daughter feels so upset and embarrassed.
“It is lucky my daughter and I have a fantastic relationship and she can talk to me about these things, but I fear for young girls who are trying to get this prescription without their parents’ knowledge.
“If she had been trying to hide it and she had to speak to a parent to get the prescription she could have been seriously harmed."
The NHS website states: “The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you're at risk of harm, such as abuse.
“The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.”
A spokeswoman for Lloyds Pharmacy said: “If a child requests collection of their own medication, our pharmacists must assess if this is appropriate.
“A number of factors need to be taken into account, for example the knowledge and maturity of the child and the nature of the medication. If the pharmacist has concerns, they may decide that it’s in the patient’s best interest to seek parental permission or knowledge.
“This is not discrimination and reflects that our pharmacists always make patient safety a top priority. Our pharmacy teams will always endeavour to deal with any patient concerns in a caring and compassionate way.”