The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (IOG) has said that the new termination of pregnancy service is still evolving and will take time to fully implement.

The institute issued a statement following an extraordinary general meeting involving 20 members at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.

The IOG is the national professional and training body for obstetricians and gynaecologists in Ireland.

IOG Chairperson Dr Cliona Murphy said some members expressed concerns about the preparedness for providing abortion care.

She said the responsibility for implementation lies with the Health Service Executive and that it was essential that appropriate resources to support clinicians involved in hospitals was provided.

Those who attended the meeting represent about 10% of the institute's obstetricians and gynaecologists, with 17 speakers listed to speak.

A single motion before the meeting was not voted on.

The motion had stated: "Because of risks to patient safety due to inadequate preparation, the implementation of forthcoming legislation in relation to termination of pregnancy cannot commence on Jan 1st 2019 and should not take place until these risks are addressed."

The institute said that implementation of the legislation would require ongoing training and education.

Last month, it issued draft guidelines to its members in anticipation of the introduction of the new legislation.

Termination of pregnancy services were introduced under law on 1 January.

The institute has previously said that it had no role in the delivery of obstetric and gynaecological services and that members were entitled to express an opinion as to the implementation of new services and in particular the safety and readiness of such new services.

The institute said it was entirely appropriate for members to convene a meeting to discuss these matters formally.

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The HSE has said nine of the country's 19 maternity units and hospital are providing surgical termination of pregnancy services.

They are:

  • National Maternity Hospital
  • Rotunda Hospital in Dublin
  • Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda
  • University Hospital Galway
  • Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar
  • University Maternity Hospital, Limerick
  • Cork University Maternity Hospital
  • University Hospital Waterford

A medical service is also being provided by 217 GPs across the country.

If a woman's gestation date is over nine weeks, she is referred to a relevant hospital for a surgical termination.

Women can have a medical or surgical abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

In exceptional circumstances, an abortion can take place after 12 weeks, if there is a risk to life, or there are problems with the development of the foetus.