The President of the National Association of GPs, Dr Maitiu O’Tuathail has welcomed clarification from the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today about the provision of an opt-in service in relation to GPs and termination of pregnancy.

Dr. O’Tuathail said “that the NAGP is now looking forward in engaging with the Government on proposed legislation and the delivery of services and all issues that arise.”

It follows the NAGP extraordinary general meeting last Saturday, which sought clarity from Government on an “opt-in basis” for services.

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

Dr. O’Tuathail said at the meeting on Saturday: “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.”

Concerns were raised by GPs at the meeting in relation to:

  • Proper training & diagnostic supports for GPs who wish to provide services
  • The provision of termination of pregnancy services should be an opt-in service
  • The distinction of an opt-in for GPs 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, etc)

It was also made clear 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.