UPDATE: new information regarding the provision of the Manx abortion service.
CALM now understands that – contrary to what we were told initially – medical abortion services, which means the taking of tablets, ARE now available on the Isle of Man.
We have also been assured that the DHSC is working hard to ensure that other services will be rolled out over the next two or three months.
All services, whether on or off island, can be accessed through the BPAS telephone number we gave out earlier (01624 642521). As we stated earlier, the booking and information number is open from 7am – 11pm every day. If women call outside these times, they can leave a message and ask the team to call back. This number goes directly through to the BPAS booking team in England so women should include the Isle of Man area code in any message they leave.
Women can self-refer – they do not need to see their doctor or receive a referral from any Manx organisation
After women get in touch with BPAS, they will have a tele-consultation as standard, meaning they will discuss their options with a qualified nurse on the phone. If, after this call, they decide they want to proceed with an abortion, the nurse will arrange an appointment either on-island or in Great Britain, depending on which is appropriate.
If it is necessary to travel, BPAS runs 70 clinics in Great Britain and Manx women will be able to discuss with the team where they would like to attend and what day would work for them. BPAS provide appointments around the country 7 days a week. The DHSC will be funding treatment, travel, and accommodation and all of these will be booked by BPAS – meaning women do not need to worry about organising these aspects of care. The DHSC will also fund an escort to come with the client for her treatment. These arrangements will remain in place until the full on-island service is available.
CALM will continue to monitor this and will continue to press for a full, on-Island, service as soon as possible.
That telephone number again is 01624 642521 – and, as the Act says, you don’t need to be referred by your GP – for the first time the Isle of Man is trusting women to make a decision for herself.
Whether or not we were misinformed, or if our outrage spurred the Department into actually doing something we’ll probably never know but we would like to apologise for the confusion and hope that in future, the DHSC will learn from this and provide clear and honest information in a timely manner rather than leaving it to BPAS to inform us.