Tuesday 23 July 2019

Fewer than one in 10 GPs have signed up to provide medical abortions

236 of around 2,500 GPs are now participating in providing medical abortions. Stock Image
236 of around 2,500 GPs are now participating in providing medical abortions. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Fewer than one in 10 of the country's GPs have signed up to provide medical abortions since the new law was rolled out on January 1, although the number is increasing.

The HSE said that 236 of around 2,500 GPs are now participating in providing medical abortions. When it started there were 200 GPs involved.

The HSE insisted there was a "good geographic spread of GPs taking part, enough to meet the needs of people who may need to access the service".

A spokeswoman said: "A lot of work is ongoing to set up services to care for women, and the HSE will provide information to women and to healthcare professionals about where and how services are available as they come on stream."

Part of the slow take-up is related to the demand by the doctors' insurers that they be trained in providing abortion before participating.

A training session by the Start group of pro-choice doctors for health staff, including GPs, had 180 participants over the weekend.

The doctors stressed the need for a comprehensive system of access to free contraception in order to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

Meanwhile, obstetricians have acknowledged the difficulty in diagnosing severe foetal abnormalities that are likely to be fatal. Only foetal abnormalities deemed likely to be fatal in the womb or after 28 days of birth are eligible for an abortion under the new law.

Irish Independent

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