Ultrasound scanners not available ‘at every crossroads’, Dr Peter Boylan says

Not every woman seeking a termination will require an ultrasound scan, medic confirms

Dr Peter Boylan acknowledged that GPs were in difficult circumstances and needed help. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dr Peter Boylan acknowledged that GPs were in difficult circumstances and needed help. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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There cannot be an ultrasound scanner “at every cross roads” but where they are needed they will be available on a geographical basis, Dr Peter Boylan has said.

Dr Boylan was appointed by the Minister for Health Simon Harris to assist the HSE in its implementation of arrangements for the termination of pregnancy and related services.

When asked on RTÉ’s News at One if abortion services would be ready on time for the January 1st deadline, Dr Boylan said that if legislation goes through and is signed by the President, the services will be ready.

Additional ultrasound equipment will benefit women in general, he said as additional slots will be available. Not everyone seeking a termination will require an ultrasound scan, he added. The scanners will be available on a geographic basis so that women will not have to travel long distances.

“Where they are needed or warranted they will be available, but there won’t be scanners at every cross roads, but they will be available within a reasonable geographic distance.”

Dr Boylan said that a lot of education is “going on” for doctors who are interested in participating in providing services, but that a lot of the information now being spread is from doctors who are not interested in engaging.

“A lot of information is coming from those who don’t want the service to happen. These are the same doctors who opposed abortion during the referendum.”

He explained that abortion clinics would not work in Ireland as they would not be busy and there was also the danger of protestors. “The focus should be on women in distress not the problems of doctors,” he said.

Dr Boylan acknowledged that GPs were in difficult circumstances and needed help, but that there was a need to start concentrating on women who need help.

“Doctors will have to step up to the plate.”

He said it was important to have a deadline for the provision of abortion services, otherwise it could be pushed out and out. “People shouldn’t be surprised about what is required. It’s good to have a deadline.”

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