Sunday 22 September 2019

Each GP to 'treat three patients a year' for an abortion

Fair fee: Dr Mary Favier of the Irish College of General Practitioners
Fair fee: Dr Mary Favier of the Irish College of General Practitioners
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

GPs who are to receive a fee of €450 for medical abortions are likely to only see two to three women requesting the service annually.

The fee will cover three visits by a woman who attends for a medical abortion from next year.

The fee, which it is understood will be announced today, will be seen as reasonable by doctors given the time and responsibility involved in the service.

But it is unclear if it will be enough of an incentive to attract doctors who will not offer the service due to workload concerns and worries about protests outside their surgeries.

It was described as "fair and reflective of the workload" by Dr Mary Favier, vice president of the Irish College of General Practitioners, yesterday.

A woman will be entitled to three visits, including an initial consultation where she can request the medical abortion and undergo an examination.

If the abortion is certified she will return for a second visit and be administered the first medication, mifepristone, in the surgery.

The woman will be given the second medical, misoprostol, to take at home.

A third visit will also be free for a follow-up, although a woman may not choose to attend and can speak to her doctor over the phone.

Further talks are to take place today between health officials and the Irish Medical Organisation on the fees and other resources needed to make the expanded service operational from January.

Dr Favier said it is likely that there would be "two to three" medical abortions per doctor.

The likelihood is that one doctor in a practice of four GPs would be designated to provide the service.

She said they had been assured that GPs would have access to ultrasound where needed.

This will involve contracting the service to private scan providers with a view to eventually moving it into public hospitals.

Dr Favier said the provision of a 24-hour phone line which a woman can contact is a "red-line" issue for GPs.

Irish Independent

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