The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have collaboratively published new clinical guidance on abortion care.
The guidance aims to tackle the barriers experienced by women seeking abortion care services by reducing waiting times, improving accessibility and improving choice of procedure.
Key recommendations covered in the guidance are as follows:
- All women should be provided the choice of opting for a medical or surgical abortion.
- Abortion care services must be improved for women to access them easily. This includes providing women with an initial appointment within one week of applying for one and conducting the procedure within one week of appointment.
- All women should have the ability to refer themselves directly to an abortion care service.
- When abortion care is part of the core curriculum of a specialty, all trainees should undergo training, unless they opt out because of conscientious objection.
- Any woman seeking an abortion should be offered and made accessible a complete range of contraceptive options.
Professor Lesley Regan, President of the RCOG, said: "Abortion care is an essential part of women’s health, yet a number of issues threaten the long term sustainability of services across the country. At the heart of this guidance is to address these issues and provide each and every woman with safe, high quality, timely and compassionate care."