Like many densely populated urban areas, Hull is a city not without its challenges. Over ten years ago it was singled out as having one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK.
Hull City Council has now turned this around and thanks to work with Hull primary care trust (PCT) and a range of school, street and drop-in centre initiatives. The rate of teenage pregnancy is now significantly below the national average, with an estimated saving of £8 million. A targeted approach, supported by Ordnance Survey mapping products which helped to visualise the problem areas, has delivered significant improvements.
‘Hull spends £800 000 a year on the programme but saves more than £8 million by reducing teenage pregnancies and preventing children from going into care… Mapping is critical to the process, not only to ensure that contraception services are located in the right place but also to help communicate complex data to different audiences and to provide evidence that the strategy is effective. “
Gail Teasdale, Integrated Services Manager, Children and Young People’s Services, Hull City Council.
Before the programme was implemented, back in 1998, statistics showed that Hull had one of the highest teenage pregnancies in the UK, with 384 attributable to females below 18 years of age (a rate of 84 per 1,000 conceptions). This was almost twice the national average so Hull City Council and the PCT took the decision to tackle the growing problem.
Like many complex problems, assessing the scope of the issue and having good data proved to be a good starting point. The city council and the PCT gathered data on the issue with key geographic location information, including the city ward and the postcode area, to build up a view across the city. Presenting the information with this location data allowed a visual analysis which showed the postcode areas that they needed to focus resources.
This analysis was helped by the use of Ordnance Survey products, made available to the council under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, which licenses digital products to public sector organisations to support the provision of public services, such as local health programmes.
To visualise the problem, Ordnance survey mapping products were used, including 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster – a backdrop mapping product that can be used to help analyse a geographical area (such as the wards of Hull) and Code-Point® with Polygons which shows post-code boundaries.
Using the information that was gathered and making use of the visual representations generated with the mapping products, the council and PCT implemented an awareness programme that targeted the ‘hot-spots’ around the city, including a programme that worked closely with six local schools and an outreach programme to contact young people at range of locations to provide the appropriate contraceptive advice.
The city centre drop-in clinic, working at the heart of the problem, also switched to a more anonymous approach, to provide a more confidential service which encouraged further participation.
Since the programme was implemented, the rates of teenage pregnancy in Hull have fallen dramatically to below the national average.
The combined ‘hub and spoke’ approach of the central service and targeted outreach programme which costs around £800, 000 a year saves more than £8 million by reducing teenage pregnancy and the cost of children going into care. Five out of the six schools that participated also saw a reduction in their teenage pregnancy rates.
Using the visual format used to present the data, commissioners and councillors can continue to see where their services are having an impact and how their resources are being targeted to ensure efficiency and value is realised for their important ongoing work
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