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New educational resources on contraception and fertility published by ICGP

By Reporter - 08th Mar 2024

New educational resources for GPs on contraception management and fertility assessment have been published by the ICGP.

The Quick Reference Guide (QRG) on Contraception Management in General Practice provides a detailed summary for GPs on the counselling and prescription of short- and long-acting reversible contraception. Contraceptive care is now free for all women aged 17-to-31 years, with over 200,000 women availing of this service in the first 10 months of 2023.

The QRG on Fertility Assessment in General Practice provides comprehensive information on the assessment and management of infertility in general practice. Eighty-five per cent of couples will become pregnant within the first year of trying, however it is estimated that infertility affects approximately 15 per cent of couples, who will require support, investigation, and onward referral where appropriate.  

The ICGP/HSE Clinical Lead for Women’s Health, Dr Ciara McCarthy, said: “The Contraception Management in General Practice QRG represents a significant support for GPs in providing quality contraceptive care in their practices. The Fertility Assessment in General Practice QRG includes evidence-based pre-conceptual advice for couples and outlines appropriate investigations and onward referral if indicated.  The guides enable doctors to give evidence-based advice to their patients and ensure consistency of care.”

She added: “We welcome the support of the Women’s Health Taskforce and the National Women and Infants Health Programme in the HSE in producing these two guides, which are part of a series of new women’s health-related guides for GPs.”

The ICGP’s Director of Women’s Health, Dr Laura Cullen, said: “The Government has introduced free contraceptive services to all 17-31-year-old women, which is a major step forward in addressing their sexual and reproductive healthcare needs. Access to safe, voluntary contraception is a human right and central to gender equality and reducing poverty. The new QRG on contraception helps summarise and simplify the key practice points of each method of contraception for GPs.”

The expansion of education in women’s health for GPs is supported by funding from the Women’s Health Taskforce, which was set up by the Department of Health in 2019 to help improve women’s health outcomes. They contain relevant, up-to-date information for GPs in an easily accessible format.

The QRGs are available for GPs via the ICGP website.

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