TEEN pregnancies in Devon are below the national average and also lower than its neighbours, fresh data has shown.

The rate in the county is 10 per 100,000 – below that of Somerset’s 12 and the average for England of 13.

The proportion of pregnant teenagers has been broadly trending downwards since 2015, when it was nearer 20 per 100,000 people.

Maria Moloney-Lucey, a Devon County Council public health specialist, said Devon ‘performs well’ when it comes to the low number of teen pregnancies.

‘We looked at Devon in relation to our nearest neighbours and England, and for some time, we have reduced the number of under-18 conceptions, a pattern we’ve seen locally and nationally.

‘There’s little variation at ward level within Devon, with no ward having a high rate, or one higher than England.’

Abenaa Gyamfuah-Assibey, who helps the council decide how to buy health services, said there were sometimes barriers to getting hold of contraception or pregnancy services for some people, which could be linked to where they live or because of a health condition.

In rural parts of Devon, she said: ‘It is not always easy to get to a physical space, so we need to look at things like digital testing and condom distribution. We need to make sure the preventative things are easy to choose and access.’

Elsewhere, Devon’s health and wellbeing board heard that the county’s sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing rate is just above that of its nearest neighbours but positive tests are below those of neighbouring counties.