Women endure year-long wait to see gynaecologist
Doctors have been warned women seeking a routine appointment to see a gynaecologist in the Coombe Hospital, Dublin, will have to wait a year or more.
It comes against a background of crisis in gynaecology outpatient waiting lists, with 27,913 women facing delays across the country.
Health Minister Simon Harris promised another plan on women's health yesterday but did not say how the problems, which are putting patients at risk, will be tackled.
He said he intended to "develop services in hospital settings in line with the maternity strategy" to support upcoming legislation which will widen the grounds for abortion.
The proposed legislation is due to be published next month and implemented in January.
Cost would not be a barrier to women accessing abortion.
However, talks have yet to take place with GPs who will deliver medical abortions.
"I want to state quite clearly that conscientious objection will of course be facilitated but it cannot be contemplated that there would not be appropriate referral," he said.
Mr Harris reiterated his plan to erect exclusion zones around maternity hospitals to stop potential anti-abortion protesters coming too near the entrances.
"I'm not usually in favour of exclusion but I see, all too blatantly I'm afraid, the need for exclusion zones," he told the annual meeting of the National Women's Council.