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New abortion services guidelines will be available to ICGP members ‘next week’

The guidelines are now “close to completion” and are expected to be available to doctors in the coming days, Dr Cox said.

“They [guidelines] will be available to all those who are attending the training day. They will be available to all members early next week and will be posted on the ICGP website for members,” Dr Cox said.

The development comes following collaboration between the ICGP and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on new guidelines.

The first termination of pregnancy (TOP) training day will take place in Dublin in December. Further training days are planned for January in other regional venues, Dr Cox said.

“The UK experts are providing the initial train the trainer sessions in Dublin in December. They will provide a further training day in January 2019. ICGP plans to roll out further training days in a cascade fashion throughout January 2019,” Dr Cox said.

“The Minister [Simon Harris] met with all stakeholders including ICGP on Monday last. He updated the attendees on the plans for service provision in the community, on the current resources in place and he provided details on the 24- hour helpline and its operation.”

All training is funded by the HSE, it is understood. Dr Cox added that further updates from Minister Harris were expected next week.

ICGP President Dr John O’Brien last week wrote to Minister Simon Harris expressing strong concerns and seeking further clarification regarding abortion services.

Dr O’Brien warned Minister Harris that if all service requirements were not confirmed and in place in time for the introduction of services this could risk creating an “unsafe service”.

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill continues to make its way through the Oireachtas and is due to be enacted before the end of the year.

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