ACCIDENTAL pregnancies cost the public sector nearly £1m a year in Wiltshire, as new mums and babies seek extra support following an unplanned pregnancy.

Figures published by Wiltshire Council show that while teen pregnancies have dropped since 2016 and fewer people are getting diagnosed with STIs, cases of HIV, Hepatitis B and C have all risen.

It is estimated that in 2016 there were 302 unintended babies born, which will lead to a public-sector cost of £938,992 each year, or £3k per child.

A new contract will be awarded from April 2020. Salisbury NHS trust currently run the sexual health and contraceptive service. There are now fewer pharmacies that can give sexual health support than three years ago across the county dropping form 22 pharmacies in 2016 to 17 in 2018.

Cllr Jon Hubbard is a trustee of youth service Young Melksham and called for more sexual health nurses to visit youth clubs to reach more children.

He said: “We used to be able to get a sexual health nurse come in to talk to kids and do drop ins, but we are now told there is no capacity. We have a strong track record with groups like Motivate who provide drugs services but we no longer provide support on sexual health which I think is a shame. I recognise money is tight and whilst I appreciate the 13-19 age range isn’t where there are high statistics, the next age demographic is. If we can educate them today we won’t have to deal with those challenges tomorrow.”

Cllr Laura Mayes said: “Prevention is our number one part of our strategy, anything we can do to prevent unwanted pregnancy or STI for a young person is of course what we will do.

“Good sexual health is very important for our population and we are working to ensure people do have good sexual health.

“We are working well to reduce teenage pregnancies, the chlamydia rate is stable but we do need to do more around unwanted pregnancies. We need to ensure we recommission this service.”

The report found that the majority of people getting checked out for STIs are aged 20-34, however there has been an increase in the proportion of older people in the 35-64 brackets getting tested.

In 2018 there were 2,309 new diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections, of which 1,121 men and 1178 women were diagnosed.