Wednesday, July 13, 2022

David Young, PA

GPs and hospital medics have been asked to review their records amid concern that official abortion figures do not tally with the number of procedures carried out.

The request from Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly comes after the number of abortions notified to his department in 2021 came in “substantially lower” than in the previous two years.

A total of 4,577 medical procedures were notified to the minister by medical practitioners last year, according to official figures published on Wednesday.

The figure was in excess of 6,000 in the previous two years.


However, other figures from the HSE show that medics made 6,700 claims for reimbursement for second consultations for pregnancy terminations.

The department has engaged with the HSE over the apparent discrepancy in totals.

In a statement, the department said: “Following these engagements, it is reasonable to conclude, based on the information available, that the number of terminations of pregnancy notified to the minister is substantially lower than the number of terminations carried out in 2021.”

Under legislation, medical practitioners are obliged to notify the Minister of Health of terminations carried out, with the Minister under a statutory obligation to report them annually to the Oireachtas.

The departmental statement added: “It is fully acknowledged that 2021 was an enormously challenging year for our healthcare services, not least in general practice, including dealing with the incredible challenge posed by wave three of Covid-19, the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine as a priority public health intervention, the management of the lasting impacts of Covid-19 and the system-wide impacts resulting from the cyberattack in May 2021.”

The statement continued that all “medical practitioners who carried out terminations of pregnancy in 2021 are requested to review their records and paperwork as a matter of priority and submit any outstanding notifications”.

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