FSRH statement: new NICE guidance supports safe access to abortion care

Posted 25 September 2019

Date: 25 Sep 2019

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

We strongly welcome the publication today of new guidance on abortion care by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) which aims to improve access to safe, high-quality abortion care.

The guidance comes at a time of rising unplanned pregnancies to women aged 30 and over. During the last decade, abortion rates have been steadily increasing for women in this age group. Abortion rates to women in any age group increased by 4% since 2017, and the number of abortions is now the highest on record.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“The new guidance is a very welcome step forward to ensure that women have access to safe, consistent and high-quality abortion care, which is an essential part of Sexual and Reproductive Health care.

“We are pleased to see that the guidelines present recommendations which we have previously called for, including the right of women to self-refer directly to services and to choose the clinically-appropriate method that suits them better.

“The recommendation for providers to offer women with an initial appointment within one week of requesting one, and the actual procedure within one week of the appointment will help improving waiting times, which is of essence for this type of care.

“In line with our Personal Beliefs Guidance, it is encouraging to see a clear recommendation that, for those in training programmes which include abortion care provision, that this is undertaken unless the individual opts out due to their conscientious objection.

“Another recommendation we have fully supported throughout the development of the guideline is for commissioners and providers to ensure the full range of contraceptive options is available for women in abortion care clinics, and that providers ensure healthcare professionals have the knowledge and skills to provide them.”


Notes to editors:

  • The guidance is available here.
  • In November 2017, the FSRH Council voted unanimously to pass a new position statement calling for the decriminalisation of abortion care in the UK. This has been informed by the results of a consultation with the FSRH membership in October 2017 and has been reached following in depth discussions. It can be read here. We have also called for women in England to be given the choice of taking misoprostol at home.
  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.

For further information please contact:
Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Manager
Email: externalaffairsmanager@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037945309