Latest: GP group announces support for conscientious objection to abortion without obligation to refer

Update 4.29pm: A group representing over 2,000 GPs has today called on the Minister for Health to include an "opt-in" provision for doctors wishing to provide termination of pregnancy services.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) held an emergency general meeting today in Portlaoise, to discuss the complex issues that may arise for women, following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The following motions were passed at the EGM:

  • "The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to clarify that he does not intend, through legislation, to make a termination of pregnancy service part of routine General Practice."
  • "The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to ensure an ‘’Opt –in’’ provision for doctors who wish to provide a termination of pregnancy service and that he will commit to providing the appropriate resources to those providers enabling a safe and effective service."
  • "Motion that the NAGP should advocate for conscientious objection without obligation to refer. We specifically refer to the Contraceptive Sterilisation Abortion 1977 NZ ACT Sect. 46. We ask that a similar section be inserted into the proposed legislation."

President of the NAGP, Dr Maitiu O’Tuathail said: "We must now advocate for the women of Ireland to ensure they receive the respectful, safe and supportive service that they deserve.

"This process must not be rushed, we must do this correctly from the outset."

"I am disappointed that the Department of Health has not engaged with ordinary GPs to date on this issue.

"The NAGP as the largest body representing GPs wishes to be fully involved so as to inform potential legislation and service delivery in a Doctor led service.

"Any new service delivery that is agreed will be delivered by ordinary Doctors to their Patients and not by academics and politicians”

“If this is not done properly it risks being yet another scandal in the health service in years to come”

The group also called for properly funded up-skilling, supports and resources for doctors who wish to provide abortion services, including access to ultrasound, counselling, near patient blood testing for rhesus factor when indicated)=.

It was also agreed that the Government must engage in detailed discussions with the NAGP on all issues pertaining to this legislation and service delivery.

It was also made clear today that once any new legislation is passed, revised ethical guidance will be needed for doctors, from the Medical Council, on all the issues that arise, including conscientious objection and onward referral of patients.

Earlier: GPs meeting to discuss what is needed for doctor-led abortion service

The group that represents most of the country's GPs are meeting today to discuss what is needed for a doctor-led abortion service.

The emergency meeting of the National Association of General Practitioners comes after the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The group are concerned they do not have the resources to provide the service and they are still waiting to be contacted by the Department of Health.

Health Minister Simon Harris says they will put clinical guidelines in place and then engage with unions and representative bodies.

President of the NAGP, Maitiu O’Tuathail, says women should be able to access the service safely, while doctors should be fully covered.

He said: "We need to make sure that we have systems in place that when women do access these services they can do so respectfully with free access and that they are not met with protestors or posters.

"As GPs we are required to have medical insurance and at the moment it remains unclear as to what impact the provision of abortion services in Ireland will or will not have on general practitioners."

- Digital Desk

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