GPs fear IT programme will be huge setback for practices
GPs should carry out pregnancy terminations in their practice, key Government advisers are recommending.
In its first annual report, the Independent Advisory Group for Sexual Health and HIV advised GPs be trained to perform medical and surgical terminations in order to cut waiting times.
More than a quarter of PCTs are failing to meet the three-week maximum wait.
The advisory group, set up by the Department of Health last year to help direct sexual health strategy, said terminations could be carried out in 'community settings such as family planning clinics and general practices'.
The report added: 'There is a need to widen the pool of professionals able to perform abortions, and to therefore extend training to medical staff such as GPs.'
But GPs warned against the move, saying there were ethical, training and funding implications.
GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said as GPs counselled patients on unwanted pregnancies they may not be best suited to performing the procedure.
He added: 'There will also be resource, training and practical implications for practices.'
Dr Mayur Lakhani, RCGP chair-elect, said GPs' role was in 'assessment and support'. He added: 'We agree that more should be done to support women but this is best done through specialist services.'
However, the advisory group said using GPs could ease access to early abortions, lower the risk of complications and cost less.
Dr Surinder Singh, a member of the group and a GP in south-east London, said the benefits had been proven in other
He added: 'It will give people choice.'
By Simon Crawshaw