Quarter of abortion-services GPs yet to agree helpline sign-up

HSE hoping more GPs who have agreed to provide services will sign up to helpline

Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan, clinical adviser to the HSE on the introduction of abortion services, on Monday about the roll-out of the services from January 1st. File photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan, clinical adviser to the HSE on the introduction of abortion services, on Monday about the roll-out of the services from January 1st. File photograph: Getty Images

 

About a quarter of general practitioners who signed up to provide abortion services have not yet agreed to have their name made available for a new helpline.

However, the majority – 75 per cent – of GPs who have signed up have said they are satisfied to do so.

The helpline will provide information to women when they call looking for guidance on where to access abortion care.

A source said contracts are still being signed and the HSE is hoping more GPs sign up over the coming days. Health service heads will also be encouraging more GPs to sign up to provide the services generally. It has been estimated some 200 doctors have signed up to provide abortion care.

Roll-out

Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan on Monday about the roll-out of abortion services from January 1st.

The helpline will go live on January 1st, and information will be distributed to GPs and hospitals over the coming days. File photograph: iStockPhoto
The helpline will go live on January 1st, and information will be distributed to GPs and hospitals over the coming days. File photograph: iStockPhoto

The HSE also met chief executives of the hospital groups to discuss the implementation of their plans. A number of hospitals have voiced concerns about their ability to provide the services by the planned introduction date.

A document around the model of care for affected women will be made available to medical professionals in the coming days, as well as finalised clinical guidelines.

It is understood Mr Harris was updated on Monday on progress with a new helpline and plans for a new public awareness campaign on the services.

Advertisements

It is now expected that a public information campaign including advertisements will go live when the law is fully enacted. Health service websites will be updated to include information on the options available to women in crisis pregnancies including termination of pregnancy.

While the helpline will go live on January 1st, information will be distributed to GPs and hospitals over the coming days.

Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan on Monday about the roll-out of abortion services from January 1st. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Minister for Health Simon Harris met the HSE and Dr Peter Boylan on Monday about the roll-out of abortion services from January 1st. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Helpline advertisements will promote a 24/7 phone line, staffed by counsellors and nurses. The helpline will tell women that if they are experiencing a crisis pregnancy, they can receive free and confidential counselling.

“We can provide you with information and support on all your options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services,” women will be told.

While the HSE met with chief executives of the hospital groups on Monday to discuss the implementation of their plans, further meetings are set to take place on Friday.