23 April 2019

Offer Women a Choice of Procedure to Terminate Their Pregnancy

All women should be able to access both medical and surgical procedures to terminate their pregnancy, says NICE in draft guidance.

Developed with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the draft guideline aims to improve the organisation of termination of pregnancy services and make it easier for women to access them.

This includes aiming to provide women with an initial appointment within 1 week of requesting one and undertaking the procedure within 1 week of the appointment.

Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said: “Choosing to terminate a pregnancy is an important part of reproductive health for many women, which is why it’s essential that providers are able to offer consistent support and advice.

“Integrating and streamlining services should help improve access for all women, leading to shorter waiting times and allowing earlier terminations. This provides multiple benefits to the woman, including being able to have a medical termination at home.”
It also says that women should be able to refer themselves to termination of pregnancy services, rather than having to book an appointment with their doctor first. This removes an unnecessary step in the process, allowing women to access treatment more quickly."

Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “These guidelines will help to address significant barriers that women experience across the country, by reducing waiting times and making it easier for them to access services. It’s also absolutely vital that more healthcare professionals are trained in this key area of women’s healthcare to ensure services are sustainable in the long-term.”

Women have the option of terminating their pregnancy either medically (taking mifepristone followed by misoprostol) or undergoing a surgical procedure. Termination of pregnancy is a common procedure with just under 193,000 being performed in 2017.