Wednesday 18 September 2019

Just 145 GPs so far signed up to provide medical abortions

The logo for the abortion phoneline
The logo for the abortion phoneline

Eilish O’Regan

Just 145 GPs have signed up so far to provide medical abortions from January .

The relatively low number means that some women will have to travel for the service.

Around 39 of these GPs have not agreed to their names to be given out to women in crisis who ring up a 24/7 helpline for counselling and direction to the nearest service.

It is still unclear how early in January the GPs will deliver the service which will be operational from January 1.

The GPs will provide medical abortions up to nine weeks of pregnancy.

All hospitals have been directed to provide terminations when a woman's life or health is at risk and in cases of emergency.

Nine hospitals will provide medical abortion between nine to 12 weeks of pregnancy.They are University Hospital Galway, Mayo University Hospital, National Maternity Hospital, Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Limerick Hospital, Cork University Maternity Hospital,  Waterford, Rotunda Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda.

They have all committed to the provision of ultrasounds and aftercare of termination of pregnancy.

It could be a matter of weeks before they are all ready to provide a medical abortion.

The Well Woman Centre and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA)- which are likely to be major providers of medical abortion - have agreed to the provision of the service in January.

The IFPA said it hopes to begin on January 7 but it depends on finalising HSE supports.

The 24/7 helpline offering counselling and direction to the nearest service will go live on January 1.

The phoneline number is 1800 828 010.

Patient Information Booklets have been sent to GPs and hospitals.

Radio ads for the phoneline will begin on January 1st.

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