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Marie Stopes UK launches new video consultation service in response to COVID-19

10 August 2020 Press release

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    New video consultation service offers ‘gold standard’ in abortion care. 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.

    Innovation in abortion care


    Leading abortion provider MSI Reproductive Choices has launched an innovative 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.

    Thanks to its introduction at the start of lockdown, over 25,000 women across the UK have been able to access timely, high-quality care that they might otherwise have been denied. And 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.

    How video consultation works

    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. This is especially important to vulnerable clients who may find it difficult to attend clinics without telling a coercive partner.  

    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.

     

    Lucie, an abortion care nurse for MSI UK said:

    “The consultations are much more personal and I have found that clients are more willing to lead the conversation than over the phone. I can also talk my clients through procedures using information booklets for example or showing them different contraception options.

    “At the end of every consultation, I ask the client whether, in more normal times, they would prefer to come into the clinic, so far everyone has said that it was just as personal via video, but without the disruption of organising childcare, finding transport, having to find parking or even face the trauma of anti-choice protesters.”

     

    Faster and safer access to abortion care

    The decision to allow women in England seeking an early medical abortion to have their consultation performed remotely and be sent pills in the post has led to significantly reduced waiting times.

    Data also shows that the number of women in England and Wales seeking illicit drugs from overseas abortion charities has reduced from an average of 36 women per month to zero since the introduction of telemedicine, meaning that women are protected by the safeguarding and aftercare provided by a regulated service.

    The new video consultation service sits alongside MSUK’s new online chat service, which allows clients to discuss their options confidentially and safely, without the need to ring first.

    Dr Jonathan Lord, Medical Director for MSI UK, said:

    “It’s important that we find innovative ways to support women who want to access abortion care, especially for those who are vulnerable or who find travel difficult.   Video consultation is an excellent option we can offer that should help many women receive care personalised to their needs.

    “We know that people feel more relaxed and are able to talk more freely and privately in their own home.   With our new video service, they can now speak ‘face-to-face’ with our trained advisors and nurses as if they were there in the room with them.”

    Marie Stopes UK is here for you if you need to access abortion care. To book a video consultation call our advice line on 0345 300 8090.

    - Ends -

    Notes to Editors

    For interviews and further information please contact:
    Email: press@msichoices.org
    Tel: 020 7034 2377 or 07769 166 516 (out of hours)

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