The morning-after contraceptive pill should be given to young women to keep at home for occasions when they might need it, a watchdog has said.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) claims doctors, nurses and pharmacies should "ensure all young women are able to obtain free emergency hormonal contraception, including advance provision".
Nice is attempting to increase awareness of the contraceptive options available and is, in particular, targeting the under-25s.
The watchdog believes pharmacies should be the first port of call to obtain the drug, but it also hopes access to all types of contraception will improve.
And staff are also told to encourage young women to discuss their contraceptive needs, and offer them a range of choices, including long-acting contraceptives such as jabs.
Young women should be "advised that emergency contraception is more effective the sooner it is used" while an intrauterine device is more effective in an emergency but can also be used long-term, Nice said.
Young women should also be "given information about the limitations of emergency hormonal contraception as a primary method".
The guidance says all sexual health bodies which provide contraception should endeavour to offer young people a full range, at convenient opening times.
Nice also said young men and women should also be able to access contraception, including condoms "in a range of types and sizes", at convenient locations, such as schools and youth clubs.
Copyright © Press Association 2010