Statement National Association of GPs for immediate release

We welcome again 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. 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, and we must respect the views and concerns of all members, and advocate on their behalf, not just the majority. For example we know that 85% of GPs do not think that termination of pregnancy service should be part of routine general practice. We know that 22% of GPs are prepared to provide a termination of pregnancy service. We also know that 20 % of GPs are conscientious objectors. We must respect and support all of our members views.

The National Association of GPs as a trade Union supports and represents all it’s members be it one, twenty or 2000.

We will make a submission on behalf of GPs who have objections on the basis of conscience to the provision of termination of pregnancy services to the Medical Council and the Oireachtas, and submit all their concerns and views.

In our submission we 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.

It is imperative that engagement occurs 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.

We must strive for a compassionate, supportive and respectful service that accommodates the needs and beliefs of all stakeholders, that works for all patients and GPs. This is achievable. Engagement and consultation with all stakeholders will provide a workable solution.

For further information, please contact 01 2546199.