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Your contraception questions answered
The new Australian Contraception and Abortion Primary Care Practitioner Community of Practice (AusCAPPS) is designed to support your clinical practice in women’s sexual and reproductive health care, writes Dr Sharon James, Research Fellow/Project Manager, AusCAPPS Network, Monash University.
One-quarter of Australian women experience an unintended pregnancy in their lifetime, with rates 1.4 times higher in rural and remote communities¹. About a third of these unintended pregnancies end in abortion¹. Compared to some forms of contraception which rely on regular user compliance to be effective, long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is highly effective, has higher consumer satisfaction and longer continuation rates².
Preventing unintended pregnancy is an important initiative in the Australian National Women’s Health Strategy 2020 – 2030³. LARC and early medical abortion (EMA) (using mifepristone followed by misoprostol up to nine weeks gestation) are safe and effective but few primary care clinicians provide either of these services. Better clinician access to LARC and EMA education, training and ongoing support would assist clinicians providing this care⁴⁺⁵.
To support clinicians in providing LARC and EMA care to communities, the SPHERE NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care launched the Australian Contraception and Abortion Primary Care Practitioner Support (AusCAPPS) Network in July 2021 for practice nurses, general practitioners, and community pharmacists working in women’s health.
The development of AusCAPPS is supported by an extensive partner and advisory network that includes Australian Primary Health Care Nurses’ Association, Pharmacy Society of Australia, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and other key stakeholders in women’s health. AHPRA verified clinicians can join AusCAPPS and access networking opportunities with peers and experts, a database of providers of LARC and EMA services, a resource library, access to webinars and podcasts, and links to LARC and EMA training providers.
AusCAPPS will assist in answering clinician questions about providing LARC and EMA care and provide weekly expert clinician posting on the discussion forum, with support by medical directors in family planning. Examples of AusCAPPS member posting includes “Can anyone direct me to evidence surrounding safe timing of tampon use after EMA?” and “I have today received a referral from a GP for assessment for implanon NXT for an 11 year old. Haven’t spoken to her or parent as yet, but wondering what others think of this…” Additionally, examples of the weekly expert clinician posting includes topics such as “Mirena use in perimenopause” and “In addition to a clinical history, what do you use to confirm success of an early medical abortion?” as well as many other key issues related to women’s sexual and reproductive health.
Nurse-led LARC and EMA care is safe and an affordable way to enhance primary care access for these services in rural communities⁶. To support your clinical practice in women’s sexual and reproductive health care, you can join the AusCAPPS Network by visiting the AusCAPPS | Medcast website at medcast.com.au/communities/auscapps. It takes five minutes to register. We now have over 1100 members! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Taft AJ, Shankar M, Black KI, et al. Unintended and unwanted pregnancy in Australia: a cross-sectional, national random telephone survey of prevalence and outcomes. The Medical journal of Australia 2018;209(9):407 – 08. doi: 10.5694/mja17.01094
2. Black KI, McGeechan K, Watson CJ, et al. Women’s satisfaction with and ongoing use of hormonal long-acting methods compared to the oral contraceptive pill: Findings from an Australian general practice cluster randomised trial (ACCORd). Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2021;61(3):448 – 53. doi: 10.1111/ajo.13319
3. Australian Government Department of Health. National Women’s Health Strategy 2020 – 2030, 2018.
4. Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. Consensus Statement: Reducing unintended pregnancy for Australian women through increased access to long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, 2017.
5. Devane C, Renner RM, Munro S, et al. Implementation of mifepristone medical abortion in Canada: pilot and feasibility testing of a survey to assess facilitators and barriers. Pilot Feasibility Stud 2019;5:126. doi: 10.1186/s40814-019‑0520‑8 [published Online First: 20191108]
6. Tomnay JE, Coelli L, Davidson A, et al. Providing accessible medical abortion services in a Victorian rural community: a description and audit of service delivery and contraception follow up. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare 2018: 16, 175