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Abortions can be safe outside hospitals

The Department of Health has published the results of a pilot study into early medical abortions carried out in nonhospital settings, looking at how to improve access.

The study shows that large community contraceptive centres, cottage hospitals or polyclinic type settings could offer a safe, high-quality service for women.

It shows that some women welcomed the informality and increased availability of staff support. This confirms the experience from other countries which already offer EMA in nonhospital settings.

Medical professionals will now be consulted on whether early medical abortions (EMAs) should be made available in nonhospital settings and patients will be asked if this would be a preferable option for them.

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: "We want to investigate whether patients can be more comfortable and feel as supported in a less clinical setting such as in a large community contraceptive centre."

One of the key aims of the Government's sexual health strategy is to reduce unintended pregnancy rates through offering improved contraceptive services.

£26.8m has been invested for 2008/09 to improve women's access to contraception and to better inform women about their choices. Some of this money will be focussed initially on areas with higher abortion rates.

Department of Health