From today, free contraception, for women aged 17–25, will become available from GPs, primary care centres and pharmacists who sign up to provide services under the scheme. All consultations with a medical practitioner required to access prescription contraception, the fitting of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) and their removal, and the provision of prescription contraception by pharmacists will be free to 17–25-year-olds.
Dr Ciara McCarthy, ICGP/HSE GP clinical lead in women’s health said “finding a suitable method of contraception will depend on your needs, your medical history and your own preferences”.
“I would encourage anyone thinking about contraception for the first time, or thinking about changing their contraception, to speak to their GP about the options available.
“GPs are in a good position to discuss the options and advise about side effects or the method that will suit your needs best. The free GP consultations covered under the new service will give anyone considering availing of free contraception the chance to discuss these questions in full before making an informed decision.”
A digital, social and outdoor campaign will go live in the coming weeks to promote the availability the free contraception service, the contraceptive choices available and the importance of discussing these options with your GP.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said, “women’s health is a top priority for myself and this Government and was strongly supported in Budget 2022, with €31 million additional funding for new developments in women’s health, including the €9 million for this contraception scheme. Today represents another big milestone in the delivery of our commitments, under the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022 – 2023 to improve all areas of women healthcare.”
Commenting on the new scheme, Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) Chief Executive, Niall Behan said: “Access to contraception and contraceptive choice have been central priorities for the IFPA since its foundation. This scheme is a really significant advance: 17 – 25-year-old women will no longer have to make contraceptive decisions based on cost. Their decisions will now be based solely on their individual needs, preferences and circumstances.”