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GPs body warns abortion services will 'fall short of what women deserve'

A representative body for GPs has warned abortion services here will "fall short of what women deserve" with a number of key issues either unaddressed or in need of clarity.

“Many questions remain as to how GPs will be expected to provide a safe abortion service for the women of Ireland," said NAGP president Dr Maitiu O' Tuathail.

"We need clarity with respect to the availability of ultrasonography to date pregnancies. The provision of emergency aftercare does not seem to have been addressed.

Issues around the medico-legal indemnity for GPs who opt to provide this service must also be clarified.

NAGP said the fee structure agreed for the termination of pregnancies would see GPs being paid €450 for three visits. It said currently GPs get paid €250 to provide antenatal care for a woman for the duration of her pregnancy adding that could encompass up to 12 visits to her GP.

“This neither makes sense, nor can reasonably be justified,” said Dr. O Tuathail.

“It highlights the chronic underfunding of antenatal care in Ireland, and the urgent need to review the fee structures under which GPs work, in the form of a new contract."

He said NAGP found it incredibly disappointing that the agreement for the termination of pregnancy services excluded universal access to long-acting reversible contraceptives.

"The government will provide universal access to the termination of pregnancy, but not equal access towards preventing a pregnancy in the first place. This is simply bad medicine,” said Dr. O Tuathail.

“The NAGP calls for a comprehensive women’s health service, to include long acting reversible contraceptive and termination services. They should have access to assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, where required.

“The women of Ireland are entitled to a holistic, comprehensive women’s health service. This is not what this delivers. It is bad medicine."