How to get the contraceptive pill in the pandemic
Updated 19th July 2021 - for the most up to date coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and information, please visit the NHS or government’s dedicated pages. This advice may differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If you get your contraception from a GP surgery, family planning or sexual health clinic, you may be concerned about how this service has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the UK, different measures have been put in place to keep doctors, nurses and patients safe. This means that some surgeries and clinics may have limited the number of daily appointments, reduced walk-ins, replaced most in-person appointments with telephone appointments, or even temporarily closed.
Contraception services that require face-to-face care might have changed. Even with restrictions easing, your local surgery might not go back to its ways of working before the pandemic. Repeat contraception such as the pill, however, will usually still be available.
If you’re wondering where to get the contraceptive pill, at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor we are still running our contraception service, which means you can safely order the combined pill (including low dose), progesterone-only pill (mini pill), as well as, as well as the patch, ring and emergency contraception, from our online clinic.
For more guidance, and to find out how to order contraception from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, read on.
What to do if you need more contraception
If you’re running out of your repeat contraception, due for another injection, or need your implant, IUD or IUS replaced, the first thing you should do is contact your GP surgery, or the clinic where you normally get your contraception. Call ahead to make sure their service is running and see if you can book an appointment, this might be on the phone, or sometimes in-person.
If you’re on repeat contraception and use any form of the pill, vaginal ring or patch, your regular service should be able to supply your routine contraception as normal. In many cases a doctor or nurse will send an electronic prescription to your local pharmacy so that you can collect your contraception from there.
If you run out while you’re waiting for more contraception, you should use condoms during sex.
If you take the progestogen-only pill (mini pill)
Your service should be able to prescribe this pill without any problems if there has been no change to your health or the medicines you take. This is because the progestogen-only pill is very safe to take and doesn’t require any checks or tests to be prescribed.
If you take the combined pill, or use the patch or ring
You may need to be assessed to make sure your prescription can be issued safely. These forms of contraception are associated with a slightly higher risk of complications and side effects, which is why your doctor or nurse will take your weight, height and blood pressure before prescribing.
If a face-to face appointment is not possible, we would ask that you take your own height, weight and blood pressure. If you are unable to do so, you may be offered the mini pill, if suitable.
If you use the contraceptive injection
If your usual service is unable to provide a face-to-face appointment, they may offer the progestogen-only pill as a temporary alternative. They may also be suitable for the combined pill (if they have an existing height/weight/blood pressure).
If you self-administer your contraceptive injections using Sayana Press, you should be able to continue as normal. Contact your prescribing service to make sure you can pick up more from the pharmacy when you need it.
If you use the implant, IUD (coil) or IUS (hormonal coil)
Even with restrictions easing, some surgeries and clinics still aren't inserting, removing or replacing coils. The good news is that it is generally very safe to temporarily postpone removal of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).
Certain types of LARC have also been shown to remain effective beyond their recommended lifespan. However, you should speak to a doctor before you continue relying on your current contraception. You may require a prescription for the contraceptive pill, or another form of contraception.
If you need emergency contraception
You should contact your local service as soon as possible. Most clinics are still offering face-to-face appointments to fit the emergency IUD (coil), as this is the most effective form of emergency contraception. You should also be able to get a prescription for emergency contraceptive pill and can request this from our morning after pill clinic.
How to order repeat contraception from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor
If you’re finding it hard to get hold of contraception, perhaps because your local service is closed or you’re shielding at home, you can request your contraception through the LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor contraception clinic.
We can prescribe all three forms of the contraceptive pill (combined, low-dose combined and progestogen-only) as well as the patch and vaginal ring. Simply visit our page, select your chosen form of contraception, and fill out a short, confidential consultation, detailing relevant medical information. One of our clinicians will assess your answers to make sure the contraception is safe for you to take, and subsequently approve your order.
If you are ordering combined contraceptives
You will need to go collect your contraception from a LloydsPharmacy and have your height, weight and blood pressure taken. The combined pill, low dose pill, ring and patch all contain oestrogen, and for this reason pharmacists need to check that you can take them safely.
If you are ordering the progestogen-only pill
You won’t need to enter your blood pressure, height and weight. However you will still need to fill out a consultation detailing your medical history, including any routine medication you’re taking.
If you're ordering the emergency contraceptive pill
Visit our morning after pill clinic and click “Request emergency contraception”. You will need to fill out a short, confidential consultation so that one of our clinicians can recommend the best morning after pill for your needs.
If the order is approved, you will be able to pick up your emergency contraception on the same day
Avoid unregulated online “pharmacies”
If you’re about to run out of contraception, you may be tempted to buy some over the internet from any internet site that claims to offer it. Unless the pharmacy is properly regulated, this is illegal and unsafe. What’s more, you may be given contraception that is not safe for you to take, or even a different kind of medication altogether.
When in doubt, only order medicine from a trusted, regulated service such as LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. Read this article for more information on obtaining medicines online.