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Safeguarding and telemedical abortion services
  1. Michael Nevill,
  2. Kayleigh Hills
  1. British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
  1. Correspondence to Michael Nevill, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Stratford-upon-Avon, UK; michael.nevill{at}bpas.org

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Key messages

  • Safeguarding must remain a core priority throughout the pandemic, particularly as there is evidence suggesting an increase in reported safeguarding cases during COVID-19, in particular with regard to domestic violence.

  • It has been shown that safeguarding assessments can be carried out effectively during remote consultations with clients being asked to ensure they are alone.

  • Multi-agency collaboration remains a priority when supporting vulnerable clients, especially when the client may not have been seen in person.

Changes to abortion services and the law surrounding provision as a result of COVID-19

On 21 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and the British Society of Abortion Care Providers (BSACP) produced clinical guidance for the provision of abortion care. These guidelines were introduced in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to abortion providers and women seeking abortion while allowing service provision through lockdown.1 As a result, telemedicine was introduced as recommended by NICE guidelines on abortion care.2 Telemedicine utilises information and communication technology to deliver healthcare services at a distance to increase a client’s access to healthcare. This allows healthcare professionals to deliver a service via telephone, video call and the internet. Since the introduction of the COVID-19 restrictions, 85% of abortion consultations are undertaken via telephone or video call in England.3 These conversations need to be conducted remotely in as safe a manner as possible, and additionally there needs to be the flexibility to provide a face-to-face appointment for those clients who may have difficulty accessing telemedicine or who do not have a private space in which to access a telephone or video call.

During March 2020, the law changed to allow women to undergo an early medical abortion (EMA) in their own home. This change allowed …

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Footnotes

  • Editor's note The details of the case described in the article are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is coincidental.

  • Contributors KH planned and drafted the article content. MN revised the article. MN and KH were responsible for the overall content as guarantors and submitted the article.

  • Funding This article was commissioned at the request of Laura Percy.

  • Competing interests MN and KH are employed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). There has been no financial gain received from this article.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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