Tuesday 11 December 2018

GPs to receive written requests for abortions from January following agreement on fees

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

GPs are to receive a written request to provide medical abortions from January following an agreement on fees of €450.

The service will be free to women and will entitle them to three visits to the GP as well as access to medication.

Health Minister Simon Harris announced tonight that agreement had been reached on the contract for the service with the Irish Medical Organisation.

GPs will be asked to opt in but they are not obliged to provide the medical abortions.

They will get €150 for a first visit when a woman can request an termination and undergo a medical examination.

The woman may need to be referred to a maternity hospital if her pregnancy is over nine weeks or other complications which might arise.

However, if she continues in the care of the GP the full fee to the doctor will be €450.

This would involve three visits in all, with the third visit for follow up.

Minister Harris said: "The agreement of this contract is a significant step in the detailed preparations for the introduction of termination of pregnancy services at the beginning of January. It enables the HSE to offer the contract in sufficient time for doctors to consider its terms and, if they wish to take up the contract, to advise the HSE of this.  I would like to acknowledge the constructive engagement by the IMO on this sensitive issue.”

GPs can provide unrestricted abortion up to nine weeks of pregnancy.

A woman who is between nine and twelve weeks pregnant will be referred to a maternity hospital for a medical abortion.

He said: ”In coming days the HSE will write to medical practitioners working in community settings, inviting expressions of interest in providing the service.

“Medical practitioners expressing an interest will be provided with a copy of the contract.

“It is intended that those interested in providing the service would return the signed copy of the contract to the HSE by early December so that services can commence from the beginning of January. “

Dr Padraig McGarry, Chair of the IMO GP Committee said: “During these negotiations we sought to protect the rights of all our members in terms of the delivery of the service.  It was necessary to conclude the negotiations at this time so as to ensure each GP has the opportunity and time to consider the contractual terms and workload before the proposed implementation date of 1st January. 

"It has been agreed between the parties that should there be any amendments to the legislation before the Dail that will impact in any way on the operation or terms of the contract these will be agreed with the IMO and implemented before the proposed start date of the service in January."

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