The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have launched a new campaign to share the facts on telemedicine for early medical abortion (EMA).
Through the Telemedicine Facts campaign, FSRH and RCOG are sharing medically-accurate information on telemedicine for EMA and its impact on women and girls, focusing on safety, ease of access and safeguarding of young people – as well as addressing myths in relation to abortion care. Answers to key questions have been collated in a Q&A to help ensure access to evidence-based information on this topic.
In March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government changed abortion regulations to allow telemedical EMA. This meant that women were able to continue to access abortion care during the pandemic by having medication posted to them following a telephone consultation with a qualified nurse or midwife.
The measures have had a hugely positive impact. A study of more than 50,000 abortions before and after the change in England and Wales, published by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in February 2021, concluded that telemedical abortion provision is ‘effective, safe, acceptable, and improves access to care’.
The sexual and reproductive healthcare community is now awaiting the outcomes of Government consultations in England, Wales and Scotland on telemedicine measures in EMA being made permanent.
FSRH and RCOG support calls from across the charity and medical sectors to see the continuation of telemedicine beyond the pandemic, including backing from British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), MSI Reproductive Choices and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:
“The introduction of telemedicine for EMA has enhanced women’s options and provided better access to an essential, evidence-based, safe and effective treatment.
It is therefore deeply concerning to see myths and misinformation surrounding telemedical abortion care, which can prevent girls and women from making informed decisions in relation to their reproductive health.
We are pleased to be launching this campaign, supporting the rights of women and girls to access high-quality, medically-accurate Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare information.
We hope to see the Governments across England, Wales and Scotland to announce a positive decision on home use of mifepristone and telemedicine for Early Medical Abortion on a permanent basis, to increase the safety and the quality of abortion care for the future.”
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:
“Telemedicine care for early medical abortions has proven to be a safe and effective way of widening access to essential healthcare during the pandemic. Studies show that many women prefer the option of the telemedicine service, allowing them to remain within the comfort of their own homes.
We have seen a lot of medical misinformation throughout the pandemic. This campaign is vital in providing accurate and reliable information about the telemedicine pathway, which has removed barriers and is a positive step in increasing access to safe abortion care.
While there should always be the option of face-to-face consultation, the choice to use telemedicine for early medical abortions is an important initiative allowing women to take control of their own reproductive choices, which can help to remove any stigma around abortion care.”
Read the full article here: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/fsrh-and-rcog-launch-telemedicine-facts-campaign/