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bpas offers abortion care placements for Irish medical students

Leading UK sexual health charity offers abortion care placements for Irish medical students

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) is offering medical students from Ireland week-long externships at its largest London clinic where they can gain experience of abortion care.

Medical students in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are unlikely to receive education in abortion care at home, but may well be called upon in their careers to provide assistance in this area of women’s reproductive healthcare.  Students undertaking these placements in London will have the opportunity to gain an insight into the many and varied reasons why women may present with an unplanned pregnancy or a pregnancy which cannot be carried to term, pregnancy options counselling, abortion and aftercare, as well as other services such as contraception advice and fitting, and STI testing and treatment.

Funding for students’ travel and accommodation will be available from the international not-for-profit organisation Medical Students For Choice (MSFC).

Dr Richard Lyus, who will mentor students participating in the scheme at bpas, said: “We know doctors in Ireland may need to assist a woman whose life is threatened by her pregnancy.  They may also be called upon to provide information to a woman considering abortion overseas because she is not currently in the position to bear a child, or because she has received the devastating news that something is wrong with a much wanted pregnancy. Some of these women may require medical care and support when they return home. We also look further ahead to a time when the law enables doctors in Ireland to provide abortion care to all women who need it. We hope these placements will give Ireland’s next generation of doctors important insight into the needs of women in this situation which they can make use of in the course of their careers.”

Robert Obara of MSFC Ireland said: “Comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education and training is an important part of any medical student's curriculum; however, we have seen medical schools in Ireland shy away from topics such as abortion.  This is a dangerous attitude to take, especially given that Irish women may need to end pregnancies just as women in other countries do.  Upcoming changes in abortion legislation in Ireland make the need for comprehensive training and education that much more urgent. As students, we welcome wholeheartedly the learning opportunities being offered by bpas.”

For more information please contact the bpas press office on 0207 612 0206 or email press@bpas.org

About bpas:

BPAS supports reproductive choice and health by advocating and providing high quality services to prevent unwanted pregnancies with contraception or end them by abortion. We also offer a range of other reproductive health services through more than 50 centres throughout the UK, treating more than 60,000 women and men each year.

About MSFC:

Medical Students for Choice is dedicated to ensuring that women receive the full range of reproductive healthcare choices. MSFC recognizes that one of the greatest obstacles to safe and legal abortion is the absence of trained providers. As medical students and residents, we work to make reproductive health care, including abortion, a part of standard medical education and residency training.

You can read more about the programme here