New video consultation service in abortion care available in Devon

Leading abortion provider Marie Stopes UK has launched a video consultation service offering women seeking abortion care, personal, face-to-face care in their own homes.

The new service means clients can speak with an abortion care nurse or midwife via a secure video link, eliminating the need to travel long distances and enabling clients to be treated earlier in their pregnancies.

Telemedicine is widely recommended as best practice to improve access to abortion care. But, during COVID-19 when social distancing is so important and people are fearful of attending clinics, it is even more essential, particularly for those in vulnerable groups or who may face coercion from abusive partners to continue an unwanted pregnancy. Now, women unable to travel can receive the same personal care they would in a clinic by chatting to an abortion care nurse ‘face-to-face’ via a secure video link.

The video consultation, which is conducted via Microsoft Teams, follows security best practice. Nurse control of the video consultation ‘lobby’ means that a client cannot enter without nurse approval, and as with all telemedicine consultations, the client’s unique pin and password are collected before commencing the appointment. The availability of an app also means women can access the consultation via their smartphones – making it easier to talk in private. 

Face-to-face contact with the client, even when remote, also helps Marie Stopes UK’s highly trained nurses identify any safeguarding concerns as well as signs that the client may need to come in for a scan.

Marie Stopes UK are commissioned by Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide early medical abortion (TOP) and surgical abortion (STOP) services for women living in Devon.

They provide NHS funded early medical abortion services from three clinics in Devon, offering women in the region increased choice and access (including evening appointments up to 9:00pm) in:

  • Exeter – St. Leonards Medical Practice, Athelstan Road, Exeter, EX1 1SB – Tuesday & Wednesday, 8:30 – 16:30
  • Paignton – Mayfield Medical Centre, 37 Totnes Road, Paignton, TQ1 5LA  – Thursday & Friday, 8:30 – 16:30
  • Plymouth – Mount Gould Local Care Centre, 200 Mount Gould Road, Plymouth, PL4 7PY  – Wednesday 17:00 – 21:00  and  Friday   13:00 – 21:00

Women can self-refer to these services without the need for a GP appointment, by calling a confidential telephone line – One Call 0345 300 8090 – which is fully operational day or night, 7 days a week. Women can call this number to talk through their options, book treatment or receive specialist clinical advice from a nursing team and counsellors.  

They aim to provide initial consultations within 48 hours and this can be by telephone, webchat, face-to-face in one of the clinics or by video-link from a woman’s own home.

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