GP association to make submissions for members who object to abortion

Some 85% of GPs do not think terminations should be part of routine general practice

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File photo of a doctor checking a patient's blood pressure | Image: Anthony Devlin / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) is to make a submission on behalf of members who have objections to the provision of abortion services.

This is to be made to the Medical Council and the Oireachtas, with concerns on the basis of conscience.

The submission will highlight that legislation - such as that in New Zealand - could be drawn upon during the drafting of Irish legislation, as this provides protection for conscientious objectors.

But the group says it again welcomes the announcement by Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that the provision of abortion services in Ireland would be on an opt in basis.

"The NAGP advocated for this as requested by the majority of GPs", it says.

"The distinction of an opt-in for GP's was clarified to mean that when a GP opts-in, he or she is fully trained and supported to provide a termination of pregnancy service of the highest safest standards (including access to ultrasound, counselling, near patient blood testing for rhesus factor when indicated)."

The NAGP has a membership of 2,100 doctors, which it says "must respect the views and concerns of all members, and advocate on their behalf", not just the majority.

The group says 85% of GPs do not think a termination of pregnancy service should be part of routine general practice.

While 22% are prepared to provide a termination of pregnancy service - and 20% of GPs are conscientious objectors.

"The National Association of GPs as a trade Union supports and represents all it’s members be it one , twenty or 2,000", it says in a statement.

The NAGP says it is "imperative" that there is engagement with GPs to find workable solutions to all concerns raised to date.

"If such engagement had occurred earlier as requested many of the concerns of doctors could have been expressed and addressed", it adds.