The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Holles Street has confirmed that two recently advertised consultant posts will be available only to doctors willing to carry out abortions.
The NMH has advertised the posts for a consultant anaesthetist and a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.
It states that candidates for the positions must be able to carry out patient duties along with teaching, administration and management duties “which as of 2019 includes elective terminations of pregnancy services and the post-holders will be expected to contribute to this new service as part of their practice plan”.
A statement from the NMH said the posts were being funded specifically from a financial allocation to the hospital from the Health Service Executive for the “provision of termination-of-pregnancy services, and are for individuals willing to contribute to the provision of these services”.
A hospital source said the posts could not therefore be open to doctors who are unwilling to carry out abortions.
He added that the doctors involved would be expected to carry out only a small number of surgical abortions and that their duties would be mostly the ones normally expected in a maternity hospital of an anaesthetist or an obstetrician.
The anaesthesist post will involve 27 hours’ work weekly in the NMH and 12 hours in the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group where the new maternity hospital will be situated when it is built.
The hospital source said the anaesthetist contract was a “standard one” as most tend to work across both the NMH and St Vincent’s hospital anyway.
He stressed that terminations would happen only in the NMH, not St Vincent’s hospital.
He also stated that the conscientious objection guidelines for existing staff in both hospitals would remain as they were before.
The HSE service plan for this year provides €7 million in funding for termination-of-pregnancy services this year, and €12 million next year.
It is expected an additional 155 staff will be recruited, including midwives, sonographers and obstetricians.