Doctors opposed to GP-led abortion service

 

Sir, – Members of the Irish College of General Practitioners board (Letters, April 8th) went to great lengths to create the impression that the over 600 GPs who requested an ICGP EGM (extraordinary general meeting), are seeking to block the roll-out of the new abortion law.

The facts tell an entirely different story. The doctors who signed the two petitions for an EGM hold a wide variety of views on abortion. None of them are seeking the meeting to subvert the result of last year’s referendum.

The purpose of the EGM is very clear. The vast majority of GPs on the ground do not believe general practice is an appropriate setting in which to provide abortions.

This is evident from a GP Buddy Poll done in June 2018 where, 75 per cent of the 936 registered GPs who took part in the survey, said they were opposed to a GP-led abortion service.

All of the GPs who have requested the EGM are committed to the welfare of their patients (some are personally opposed to abortion and others are not). They wish to stand by colleagues who feel forced against their conscience to facilitate abortions as part of the referral requirements under the new law.

It is very misleading for members of the ICGP board to imply that the will of the people in last year’s referendum would be frustrated if the provision of abortion was not GP-led. Nothing could be further from the truth. Britain has had a liberal abortion law since 1967, but abortion is not GP-led there. Indeed, almost every other abortion regime in Europe manages to provide abortion outside of general practice.

The first GPs heard that the new abortion law here would be GP-led was when the Minister for Health announced it in a radio interview. There was zero consultation with rank and file GPs on whether they believed GP surgeries are a suitable setting for carrying out abortions.

Despite countless expressions of concerns from GPs, the ICGP board refused to represent these concerns when in discussions with the Government on the roll-out of the new law. It is terribly misleading for the ICGP board to claim there was an exhaustive consultative process beforehand where the views of members were listened to and acted upon.

The ICGP board continues to shift the goal posts on the matter of an EGM. The first request for an EGM was turned down because the 600 signatures were presented in digital form. When the EGM motions were resubmitted with the requested handwritten ink signatures, the ICGP board came up with another excuse for not acceding to the request of members. And now, to create the pretence of real debate, GPs have been informed they can submit motions to the upcoming ICGP AGM, only to have them filtered and censored all over again.

A debate that started out about abortion has turned into one about accountability. Yours etc.

Dr ANTHONY REILLY, Dr

JOANNE DALY, Dr JOHN

PHILPOTT, Dr MAIREAD

WILSON, Dr MARTIN

GORMAN, Dr NEGIN

REYHANI, Dr AISLING

BASTIBLE , Dr URSULA

SCULLION, Dr MICHELLE

COOPER, Dr CATRIONA

CORRIGAN, Dr GERARD

CORRIGAN, Dr FIONA

O’HANLON, Dr ÁINE

O’BOYLE, PATRICK

McSHARRY, Dr AUDREY

DEVANEY, Dr ORAN

BOYLE, Dr NIGEL

SOLOMON, Dr MICHAEL

McNIFFE, Dr CHARLES

McMANUS, Dr GRACE

DOYLE, Dr GARY STACK,

Dr JEREMIAH SEAN

O’DONOVAN, Dr DARA

SCALLY, Dr FIDELMA

MCKENNA, Dr PAT HILL,

Dr DAN CROWLEY, Dr

PAULINE CUSHMAN, Dr

JOHN O’TOOLE, Dr

LAURA CROWLEY, Dr

JAMES KELLY, Dr FIONA

TREACY, Dr KEVIN

BYRNE, Dr MARTINA

COGAN , Dr, DrAUSTIN

O’KENNEDY, JANE

MORRISSEY, Dr ORLA

HALPENNY, Dr

SYLVESTER MOONEY, Dr

EILEEN LUCEY, Dr

CHARLES DALY, Dr

MICHAEL LYNN, Dr NOEL

GALVIN, Dr BRENDAN

CLUNE, Dr MUIRIS de

BHULBH, Dr BRIAN

JORDAN, Dr MICHEAL

COOKE, Dr JP McELDUFF,

Dr DONAL COFFEY, Dr

PETER MOREHAN GP, Dr

ANNE PHELAN, Dr JOHN

LATHAM, Dr JULIE

POWER, Dr MICHAEL

CUNNEEN, Dr

MURROUGH BIRMING

HAM, Dr

MAEVE BRADLEY, Dr

NOREEN LINEEN CURTIS,

Dr RAY O’CONNOR (All

GPs), C/o Dublin 1.