A METHOD of abortion care that has helped thousands of local women could be scrapped by the Government.

In March 2020, the-then secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, approved temporary measures to allow early abortion consultations to be performed via telemedicine.

Since then, 6,752 women living in the area covered by the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group have received treatment via this service.

Telemedical abortion care gives the patient, if clinically suitable and under 10 weeks of pregnancy, treatment in the post to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

MP for Southampton North and Romsey, Caroline Nokes, said: "“What we have seen with the introduction of telemedicine is an ability for women to access help earlier, in the comfort of their own homes, and waiting times have dropped,” she told PoliticsHome.

“We all know that early treatment is far preferable, minimising the risk of complications. The pandemic made life very difficult for women, both financially and in terms of the caring responsibilities they carried out.

“Making this sort of medical care as accessible as possible has helped those who have to make incredibly difficult decisions, and we know making their lives easier is crucially important.

"I hope the Government has the courage to continue with telemedicine for abortion care, and this study shows there are significant benefits to that.”

The Government is currently considering whether or not to make these provisions a permanent option for women.

A spokesperson for British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which runs the telemedical abortion scheme, said: "While many healthcare services have experienced suspension or increased waiting times during the pandemic, the introduction of telemedicine has significantly reduced waiting times – and the average wait time experienced by women in Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight seeking early abortion care has fallen by 4 days.

"Abortion is a very safe procedure and considerably safer than carrying a pregnancy to term, but the earlier it can be performed the better for women’s physical and mental health.

"Since the introduction of telemedical abortion care, the average gestation at which women end an early pregnancy in Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight has also fallen by one day.

"If access to telemedical abortion care were to be revoked, thousands of women the local area every year would be forced to travel to clinics, juggling childcare and working commitments, for no clinically necessary reason, and waiting times would undoubtedly increase."

BPAS is asking local MPs to support its call for the permission for telemedicine to be made permanent.