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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
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free contraception

Over 700 GPs still waiting for free contraception contracts to be finalised

The scheme was opened to women aged 17 to 25 last month.

OVER 700 GPS and 450 pharmacies are still waiting for contracts to allow them to partake in the government’s free contraception scheme, which was rolled out last month.

Since the scheme was launched, 2,108 GPs and 1,458 pharmacies have completed contracts with the HSE.

Some 2,831 GPs and 1,908 pharmacists applied for contracts provide free contraception for women aged 17 to 25, meaning 723 GPs are still waiting for their contracts to be processed, as well as 450 pharmacies.

The free contraception scheme covers all consultations with a GPs required to access prescription contraception, the fitting of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) and their removal, and the provision of prescription contraception by pharmacists will be free to 17 to 25 year olds.

In a press statement, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “I am delighted to be announcing that there has been such a huge uptake of GPs and pharmacists who have signed up to deliver the free contraception scheme. Free contraception was one of main recommendations accompanying the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and is a vital Programme for Government commitment.

“This truly is a landmark scheme in the context of women’s healthcare in Ireland and I would like to recognise and thank all of those who have worked hard to bring us to this point.”

“I was very pleased to be able to secure further investment in Budget 2023 to extend the scheme from 1 September 2023 to cover all women aged between aged between 17 and 30, and if possible (subject to legal advice, comprehensive consultation across Government and subsequent legislative amendment), to extend to aged 16.

“This is another milestone development for the health and wellbeing of the women of Ireland.”

Under current legislation, women are eligible for free contraception under the scheme from their 17th birthday until the day before their 26th birthday. Women who have had coils, IUDs, IUSs or implants inserted under the scheme will remain eligible for checks and free removal of any devices inserted before their 26th birthday, to ensure their continuity of care.

The government hopes to extend eligibility to 26 year olds from 1 January 2023, and 27 to 30 year olds from 1 September 2023.

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