GP crisis means further delays for pregnant people accessing abortion care

Image description: coloured heat map of Ireland with counties. The counties with the most gps providing abortion services are darker in colour, the Counties with the fewest are lightest. From most to least: Dublin 130 Cork 69 Galway 24 Wicklow 21 Donegal 15 Clare 15 Limerick 14 Tipperary 13 Waterford 13 Kildare 13 Meath 12 Kerry 11 Louth 11 Westmeath 9 Cavan 6 Kilkenny 6 Wexford 6 Leitrim 4 Laois 4 Mayo 3 Sligo 3 Roscommon 3 Offaly 3 Carlow 2 Longford 1 Monaghan 1

We are concerned that the GP crisis will prevent pregnant people from accessing timely abortion care and call on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 without delay. 

“The news that more than half of GPs are unable to accept new patients is of deep concern to us because we know that abortion care is time-sensitive. Pregnant people already face unnecessary barriers from the mandatory three-day waiting period and the arbitrary 12-week limit for abortion on request. Any further delay in accessing care could see people be forced to travel abroad because they couldn’t get two appointments before the 12-week gestational limit,” said Richael Carroll,  Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson. 

According to research conducted by the Irish Patients’ Association, approximately 700 doctors are due to retire in the next seven years. The disparity between rural and urban access to abortion care will worsen as GPs retire without being replaced 

Richael continued, “From the beginning, there have been significant gaps in rural provision of abortion services, with some counties only having one GP signed up as an abortion provider through My Options. This will be the 6th year since we repealed the 8th amendment, and yet we have a long way to go to make services free, safe, legal, local and accessible.”