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Most GPs ‘won’t provide abortion service’ — letter

The information was highlighted in a letter to ICGP CEO Mr Fintan Foy from the CME tutor network in late September, in which the tutors outlined serious concerns about the delivery of abortion services in general practice. There are around 35 CME tutors nationally.

The letter stated that a significant number of GPs at the meeting had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, but many did not wish to provide an abortion service. A smaller number noted their conscientious objection.

There was concern among some GPs that their workplace may become a target for abortion protests, according to the letter.

“Some felt” that the ICGP had “been too compliant in agreeing [general practice] as the ideal locus for the ToP service”, it outlined.

Some GPs at the meeting stated that general practice was not the appropriate location for ToP services. They called on the College to make the case to members as to why general practice was the most suitable location, when no other countries had taken this decision.

“Many feel the ToP service should be provided outside of general practice,” stated the letter written by CME National Director Dr Annraoi Finnegan on behalf of the tutor network.

“A significant number do not want to be involved in the referral process to those GPs who will be providing medical ToP. Many GPs voted ‘Yes’ to the Repeal proposal and a woman’s right to choose. Now that it comes down to their personal involvement in the ToP process, they are not happy to provide the service.”  The letter added that “a smaller number” declared their conscientious objection.

The issue of clinical indemnity needed to be urgently addressed for the GPs providing medical ToP services, it also stated.

Meanwhile, the Irish Association of GP Co-operatives has unanimously agreed that ToP is an elective procedure and therefore does not come under the requirements of co-ops, which are urgent out-of-hours GP services.

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