The Central Booking System is not up and running yet however so we have put together a few Questions and Answers for what to do until it is.
If you need to access abortion care services in England now, you can contact the following abortion care providers, where you will be able to access services for free:
- British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas)
bpas operates over 70 abortion care clinics around England. You can call their 24 hour phone line on 03457 30 40 30 to book an appointment or make an enquiry. If you are deaf or hard of hearing with a textphone, call the bpas textphone on 0345 365 1450
- Marie Stopes UK
Marie Stopes UK operates over 70 clinics in England, and their advice line is open 24 hours. Call them on 0345 300 8090
- National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service (NUPAS)
NUPAS runs clinics in Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Greater London.
- To book an appointment or make an enquiry call 0333 004 6666 For counselling and support services in Northern Ireland, you can call FPA (the Family Planning Association) on 0345 122 8687 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays). They will be able to give you advice, and you can book an appointment for pregnancy choices counselling at their office in central Belfast.
- If you are struggling to access funding for travel or accommodation, Abortion Support Network provides financial assistance. You can call them on 07897 611593.
What service will women from Northern Ireland receive?
- A consultation with a health professional in England
- The abortion procedure if they decide to terminate their pregnancy;
- HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing as appropriate;
- An offer of contraception (including LARC [where appropriate);
- Support with travel costs if financial hardship criteria are met for both the woman requiring treatment and, if necessary, a parent, guardian or carer;
- Appropriate arrangements for the repatriation of fetal remains where required.
Will they have to pay for any treatment?
No. Women lawfully resident in Northern Ireland will be offered treatment free at the point of delivery. Service providers will be reimbursed for treatment costs by the Department of Health.
How will women from NI access the service?
A central booking service (CBS) will be established and managed by one of the providers.
This means that women from Northern Ireland will have just one telephone number to call in order to receive termination of pregnancy services.
The CBS will then arrange an appointment with the most appropriate provider, based on the woman’s needs (e.g. location, gestation, availability).
The CBS will also book travel and, if necessary, accommodation for women who are experiencing financial hardship, once eligibility has been confirmed.
When will the CBS be operational?
We are hoping that the CBS will be in place before the end of the year.
How will women book appointments until the CBS is up and running?
The main providers of termination of pregnancy services are already offering their services free of charge to women from Northern Ireland. Women will need to continue to contact providers directly until the CBS is operational.
Travel costs - is support for travel costs available now?
Yes – an interim travel scheme has been put in place with providers for women who meet the criteria above..
Travel costs – where appropriate will a friend or relative be able come as well?
Yes, once the scheme is up and running, travel costs will be paid for a parent, guardian or carer to accompany the woman, if she is eligible for support with travel costs.
Travel costs - will women have to pay up front?
No – the central booking service will arrange travel for the woman
Travel costs – what are the financial hardship criteria?
The woman needs to be in receipt of one of the following benefits
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Or have an income of £15,276 or less.
Who will provide the service?
We have invited existing TOP providers in England to apply to provide services to women from Northern Ireland. We will be able to confirm which provider(s) will provide services once the application process has been completed. Currently BPAS, MSI and NUPAS are providing services free of charge.
In a few cases, where medically necessary, the service will be provided in an NHS facility.
In this situation the women will be treated as private patients and the NHS provider will be reimbursed by the Department of Health
Will women who paid since the announcement be reimbursed?
All the main providers stopped charging women for termination of pregnancy services with days of the announcement of the new policy by Government on 29 June 2017. Anyone who paid for treatment following the announcement should contact the provider to discuss reimbursement.
 Long-acting reversible contraception