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About the LARC Programme

Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) include the progesterone-releasing systems, copper-containing intrauterine devices, and the subdermal implant. Such methods are more reliable that pills and barriers, offer women choices and are more cost effective than the combined pill even at one year of use.

International guidelines state that all women requiring contraception should be both informed of and offered a choice of all methods; including (LARC) methods. It is recognised that increasing the uptake of LARC methods will reduce the numbers of unintended pregnancies. (NICE 2005).

In Ireland and the UK, LARC insertions can be provided in the community. It is recognised that not all practices will choose to provide LARC services, but that these practices should have an agreed pathway for referring women for LARC methods. In the UK, NICE guidance recommends that health care professionals providing these services should receive training to develop and maintain the relevant skills to provide these methods.

The LARC Programme aims to advise on the training and certification for LARC in general practice. The programme encourages its members to continue to provide the highest possible standard of care to their patients, by developing and maintaining the relevant skills to provide LARC. The Advanced Certificate in LARC is awarded by the Reproductive and Sexual Health Committee, a subcommittee of the ICGP Education Governance Committee. The LARC Programme has developed guidelines for providing training in LARC insertions and criteria for awarding the Advanced Certificate in LARC. The LARC programme runs courses to train new LARC tutors, maintains a register of LARC tutors and runs regular LARC Update courses for LARC inserters around the country. The ICGP LARC programme does not offer training in insertion techniques.