The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) recently launched a consultation on their draft guidelines on termination of pregnancy. In strongly welcoming the guidance, we focused on some of the key areas:
• Service Organisation: We were pleased to note the NICE recommendations on service organisation, particularly those focused on delivering more joined-up care for women, including use of phone/video consultations and services in community settings. Like other organisations, we believe that sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) - including abortion care - needs to be more broadly integrated into women’s healthcare pathways.
• Workforce: In line with our Personal Beliefs Guidance, we endorsed NICE’s recommendation that, on training programmes which include abortion care provision, the only basis for non-participation is opt-out on grounds of conscientious objection, which should be formally assessed and annually reviewed.
• Individual Choice: We welcomed the recommendation that commissioners and providers should ensure that the full range of contraceptive methods is discussed when the person seeking an abortion wishes it and that a method clinically appropriate and chosen by the person is available and provided to them in every abortion care setting.
• Waiting times: We made clear our full support for the recommendation aiming to provide people seeking an abortion with assessment and treatment within a two week period.
• Constructive amendments: To further strengthen the guidance, we also proposed minor clinical amendments, as well as recommendations for a more gender-inclusive use of language.
You can download our submission below.