LESS than 10% of GPs across Ireland have signed the contract to provide terminations of pregnancy, the HSE has confirmed.
As of yesterday, 217 GPs out of a reported 2,500 nationwide had signed the contract, according to the Health Service, which said that more GPs are signing up each day.
Contracts were made available to GPs to sign before Christmas.
Cork GP Dr Nick Flynn said the delivery of the service for January 1 was rushed and that many GPs are wary of the system.
“There is certainly a fear of the unknown at the moment on the ground,” he said.
“The figures certainly show that the HSE haven’t got the confidence of the full body of general practice at the moment.
“It’s clear that the process has been rushed, that the body of GPs aren’t fully trained in what to do and those that are providing have had little or no training or reached an accreditation standard,” he added.
“I’ve heard doctors say they wouldn’t touch it for three months as it’s not as straightforward as it could’ve been.
“It’s a concern about safety for women in crisis pregnancy.
“Having said that, I think that they will get there and that this will become normal practice,” said Dr Flynn.
“But you would have concerns though that until it is fully established in this way, it might not be the best service and that a mistake might be made.”
The service was never going to be foolproof and ready for January 1, claimed Dr Flynn.
“If they picked a later date, even March 1, they could have had information roadshows, online training and more to ensure the service was ready.
“GPs are often a conservative bunch,” he explained.
“A lot of them might observe for a couple of months to see how it’s going, has any training or accreditation come on stream or have any of their colleagues got into hot water on it.
“More will come on board eventually.”