The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) held an emergency general meeting today in Portlaoise, to discuss the complex issues that may arise for women, following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The NAGP represents over 2,000 GPs and many attended today’s meeting representing General Practice from all around the country.

There was a long, detailed and informed debate on how to best provide this service, given the complex issues that require clarification and resolution.

President of the NAGP Dr. Maitiu O’Tuathail said, “We must now advocate for the women of Ireland to ensure they receive the respectful, safe and supportive service that they deserve. This process must not be rushed, we must do this correctly from the outset.”

Dr. O’Tuathail continued “I am disappointed that the Department of Health has not engaged with ordinary GPs to date on this issue. The NAGP as the largest body representing GPs wishes to be fully involved so as to inform potential legislation and service delivery in a Doctor led service. Any new service delivery that is agreed will be delivered by ordinary Doctors to their Patients and not by academics and politicians”.

“If this is not done properly it risks being yet another scandal in the health service in years to come”

At the EGM the following motions were passed:

  • The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to clarify that he does not intend, through legislation, to make a termination of pregnancy service part of routine General Practice.
  • The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to ensure an ‘’Opt –in’’ provision for doctors who wish to provide a termination of pregnancy service and that he will commit to providing the appropriate resources to those providers enabling a safe and effective service.
  • Motion that the NAGP should advocate for conscientious objection without obligation to refer. We specifically refer to the Contraceptive Sterilisation Abortion 1977 NZ ACT Sect. 46
  • We ask that a similar section be inserted into the proposed legislation.

Additionally, the following items were discussed:

  • The provision of abortion services should be an opt-in service for GP, subject to properly funded up-skilling, supports and resources for doctors who wish to provide services.
  • The distinction of an opt-in for GP’s was clarified to mean that when a GP opts-in he or she is fully 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).
  • Today’s meeting decided that the Government must engage in detailed discussions with the NAGP on all issues pertaining to this legislation and service delivery.
  • It was also made clear today that once any new legislation is passed, revised ethical guidance will be needed for doctors, from the Medical Council, on all the issues that arise, including conscientious objection and onward referral of patients.