Wednesday 26 June 2019

Doctors warn that our hospitals are still not ready to offer abortions

Concerns: Dr Cliona Murphy, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Photo: Collins
Concerns: Dr Cliona Murphy, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Photo: Collins
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

Consultants have warned that hospitals are still not ready to offer abortions and said appropriate resources must be provided.

At an EGM last night, the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists discussed a motion put forward in December expressing concern about "inadequate" resources.

Under the rules of the institute - which is the national professional and training body for obstetricians and gynaecologists in Ireland - the meeting was scheduled for January, a month after the motion was first raised.

Meanwhile, the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act passed through the final stages of the Oireachtas and became law on January 1.

Following the meeting, the institute said the motion was not voted on but was debated in depth with many doctors still concerned for the "safety and readiness" of abortions services.

Dr Cliona Murphy, chair of the institute, said: "Members had a good discussion, with some expressing concerns about the preparedness on the ground for providing abortion care.

"This new service is still evolving and will take time to fully implement.

"Responsibility for implementation lies with the HSE. It is essential that appropriate resources to support clinicians involved in our hospitals is provided," she added.

The institute said the HSE was responsible for providing abortion services and that it has no role or responsibility in the delivery of these.

However, it said it was appropriate for members to express their concerns about the services, adding that better resources and support should be made available to them.

At present, nine of the 19 maternity units and hospitals around the country are providing surgical terminations.

A surgical termination is required after nine weeks of pregnancy while medical abortions - using abortion pills - can be accessed before this time through a woman's GP.

Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed the number of GPs who have signed up to provide medical abortions has now passed the 200 mark.

The nine hospitals currently offering surgical terminations are the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, and the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin; Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; University Hospital Galway; Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar; University Maternity Hospital Limerick; Cork University Maternity Hospital; and University Hospital Waterford.

Irish Independent

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