Out-of-Hours GP Surgeries to be 'Exempt' from Abortions
GP out-of-hours surgeries will be exempted from having to provide abortions, the Irish Independent reports. Dr Ken Egan, chairman of the National Association of GP Co-ops, said a woman seeking an abortion would not be classified as an emergency which is the service out-of-hours doctors provide. However, he said they will treat women who have had an abortion and develop complications.
“We wrote to the Irish College of General Practitioners and it was accepted that out-of-hours would be exempt,” he said.
The revelation comes as Health Minister Simon Harris insisted the health service will be ready to roll out abortion services from January despite several GPs and obstetricians warning it is too rushed, leaving women at risk of ending with unsafe abortions.
Even the head of Planned Parenthood’s Irish affiliate expressed concerns that the process is too rushed. Niall Behan, chief executive of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), which will be one of the main centres providing medical abortion, said the IFPA would be providing abortions at its clinics “as soon as possible.” But he added that the minister’s target of January 1 “creates enormous challenges because there are still a number of outstanding issues.” “This has to be done right, not rushed,” he said.
Alison Begas, of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, which will also be a major provider, said it was not possible to commit to a start-up date now. But she was hopeful outstanding issues can be resolved, including concerns over access to ultrasound. “There needs to be quick and easy access to ultrasound and a central booking system,” she said.
Irish Independent. December 8.