The Department of Health has told the HSE to ensure abortion will be available in all 19 maternity units from January 1st, amid continuing uncertainty over whether the Government’s deadline for the introduction of the service will be met.

Dozens of doctors walked out of a meeting of GPs held yesterday to discuss concerns about the provision of abortion, and afterwards claimed a “serious crisis” exists about the rollout of the service that the Government cannot ignore. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

The department of health has asked the 19 hospital maternity units to provide updates on how they plan to provide for abortion services from the New Year onwards. Doctors in a number of smaller maternity units have said they do not have the resources to provide the service from next month.

Then yesterday a number of doctors walked out of a meeting of GPs held to discuss concerns about the provision of abortion, and afterwards claimed a “serious crisis” exists about the rollout of the service.

More than 300 members of the Irish College of General Practitioners attended the three-hour extraordinary general meeting in Malahide, but the group, estimated at “up to 50”,  of mostly anti-abortion doctors staged a walkout after half an hour.

The group is now expected to seek a further EGM to debate change on conscientious objection that would ensure doctors would have to refer a woman seeking an abortion to a colleague if they did not want to treat her on grounds of conscience.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris acknowledged doctors had a right to conscientious objection but “women also have a right to healthcare” and “one right cannot trump another”.

While it was “okay” for doctors to have different views “the people have spoken and the campaign is over”.

At last week’s HSE West Forum meeting in Merlin Park Tuam based Fianna Fail councillor Donnagh Killilea  sought some clarification on the delivery of the termination of pregnancy service that will be rolled out on Jan 1st next in the Galway, Roscommon and Mayo areas.

He was told that the HSE, in consultation with the dept of Health and other stakeholders is working collaboratively on an implementation plan for the delivery of the service provided by GPs and maternity hospitals by the 1st January.

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