Abortion services 'in short supply'

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Abortion services are in short supply and not enough junior doctors are being trained in the procedure, experts have warned today.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says that it is aware of a "slow but growing problem" of an increasing number of trainees opting out of training in the termination of pregnancy.

There are 190,000 abortions carried out in Britain each year.

In a statement the RCOG said that it "is concerned about the abortion service of the future" and that "careful workforce planning" is needed to ensure that abortion services are available to women.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning, Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, also expressed concerns about abortion services as it is becoming "increasingly difficult" to recruit doctors to train in this area.

"Looking forward to five or six or seven years' time, a woman's ability to get an abortion will be more shaped by whether services can provide them than by the state of the law," she said.

Responding to the concerns raised, a spokesperson for the Department of Health (DoH) denied that women were receiving inadequate services.

"We are aware that a minority of doctors choose to opt out from performing abortions, as they are legally entitled to do," the spokesperson said.

"However, this is not preventing women from accessing abortion services. The statistics show that the number of abortions being performed remains stable year on year and that more abortions are being performed earlier - for example 64 per cent of NHS funded abortions took place at under ten weeks - compared with 51 per cent in 2002."

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