PCTs plan for in-practice abortions22nd January 2009
Primary Care Trusts are pressing ahead with plans to offer abortions in surgeries and polyclinics within the next few months.
An investigation by the journal GP found that a number of PCTs were exploring the idea.
At present, abortions can only be performed in hospital or an approved private sector clinic.
But a section of the 1967 Abortion Act does give the health secretary powers to approve abortions in primary care.
A pilot study by the Department of Health last year found that women could safely receive early medical abortions (EMAs) in community settings, paving the way for PCTs to develop abortion services.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, Hampshire PCT said it was applying for a licence to provide EMAs at a GP practice in Basingstoke.
Hounslow PCT in London and Sandwell PCT in the West Midlands are also looking at providing medical terminations in polyclinics. Kirklees PCT in west Yorkshire, Islington PCT in north London and Somerset PCT also expressed an interest.
The Christian Medical Fellowship says the move would lead to an increase in the number of abortions.
But the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said that such a service was overdue.
Chief executive Ann Furedi said: ‘It is about time this happened. EMAs are in great demand and are the method of abortion that women want to use.
“It’s about making access to abortions easier and more convenient, not about increasing the number of abortions.”
The Department of Health said it would be consulting further on the plan.
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Title: PCTs plan for in-practice abortions
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9907
Date Added: 22nd Jan 2009