Experts say that a healthcare crisis is imminent in the United Kingdom due to a growing number of doctors who are declining to provide abortion services, particularly to low-income women. The country’s National Health Service (NHS), which was created in 1948 to provide healthcare to all citizens who are in need of service regardless of their ability to pay, has noted that doctors are opting out of providing abortions in order to specialize in different and more desirable areas of healthcare.
According to BBC News, around 190,000 abortions take place in England and Wales each year, and NHS, which is funded by taxpayer dollars and is managed by the UK Department of Health, pays for four out of five of the procedures. Many healthcare providers fear that if the availability of safe and legal abortion services continues to decline, women will begin to turn to alternative and less-safe methods of ending their pregnancies. Katie Guthrie, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, suggests that increasing the role of nurses in abortion procedures could be a solution to the problem.
Dr. Kate Paterson, who is a consultant obstetrician in abortion care for NHS, has been providing abortions, maternity care, and contraceptive services for over 20 years. “There is a desperate need for this kind of work and women can be in really extreme situations. So I do feel pleased that I can help them and that I do a job that is very, very useful to people,” reports Medical News Today.
While the UK Department of Heath has acknowledged that the number of doctors who are willing to provide abortion services is declining, it will not categorize this trend as something that could hinder women’s access to abortion.