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MSI’s transformative surgical abortion training featured in The Lancet

News from MSI UK  •  16 February 2024  • 3 min read

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This week, leading medical journal, The Lancet, published an article showcasing the surgical abortion training being offered by MSI UK’s Associate Clinical Director Dr Yvonne Neubauer to increase the number of abortion surgeons in the UK.

Overcoming the shortage of UK abortion surgeons

In 2021, a survey by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology (RCOG) found that there were only 17 abortion surgeons in England, with none in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Over half of these were over 55 years old and would soon be nearing retirement.  

Aware this was creating a ticking time bomb for abortion access, Dr Neubauer decided to take action and offer surgical abortion training to NHS doctors and trainees. She now travels the country, providing training free of charge to those interested in expanding the abortion care that they can offer in their local area. 

Making abortion care more accessible for the South-West of England

This training has been particularly critical for the roughly 3,000 people each year who need to be have a surgical abortion at a hospital because of underlying health conditions.  

Prior to Dr Neubauer’s work, anyone who needed in-patient abortion care in the South-West region of England was required to travel to London, making the experience more costly and stressful for many and impossible for others.  

By training a Consultant Obstetrician based in Bristol, Dr Neubauer has supported in setting up a new unit for second and third trimester complex abortion care in Bristol, the first new NHS service to be established in several decades. As a result, from May of last year, people in the South-West who need to access surgical abortion treatment at a hospital no longer have to travel to London for abortion care.  

This ‘impressive achievement’ has been recognised by the UK Women’s Health Ambassador, Dame Lesley Regan, who wrote to Dr Neubauer to thank her for her ‘vision and hard work’ to ensure that everyone can access the essential health services that they need in the South-West region.  

The future of abortion care

Currently, the route into obtaining surgical abortion skills for health professionals is not clearly signposted, training is fragmented and stigma around abortion remains, so it is difficult for doctors to specialise in this care. The recognition of Dr Neubauer’s training has raised awareness of the need for more doctors in this field and she is now working on creating a clear path for trainee doctors to specialise in surgical abortion. 

Of her training, Dr Yvonne Neubauer said: 

“I’m grateful for all the doctors who have taken on this training. Anyone who chooses a surgical abortion should be able to receive that care in a timely manner without having to travel far. By continuing to train more surgeons, we can soon make that a reality for anyone needing this essential healthcare in the UK.” 

To read the full article from Jacqui Thornton in The Lancet, register for free here.  

Dr Neubauer’s work has also been cited in a recent article in the British Medical Journal.  


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