Early Medical Abortion: Telemedicine Service

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons on 1st March 2022.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

What plans his Department has to take steps to permanently implement the telemedicine service for early medical abortion.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government will end the temporary approval put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. We have extended the temporary approval for six months until midnight on 29 August 2022. From that point, abortion services for early medical abortion will return in line with pre-covid regulatory requirements. As with any healthcare service, this measure will be kept under review.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee

Can my hon. Friend explain how the decision to end telemedicine for early medical abortion supports women who responded to the Department’s own consultation, how it works in line with the Royal College of General Practice, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives, and what the dangers are in ignoring their advice when pulling together a women’s health strategy?

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The temporary approval was put in place during the pandemic to address a specific and acute medical need to reduce the risk of transmission of covid-19. It was recognised that without it, significant numbers of women would not have been able to safely access abortion services. Thanks to the success and impact of the national vaccination programme, the situation is now very different. In making this decision, the Secretary of State has considered all the risks and benefits regarding the temporary approval.