AMA backs easing of MS-2 Step restrictions with an eye to patient safety

Australian Medical Association

The AMA supports the easing of restrictions for pregnant women seeking a doctor to prescribe MS-2 Step, saying it will improve access to reproductive healthcare services while calling for a continuing focus on patient safety.

The AMA backs this week’s announcement of an ease to restrictions on women’s access to medical abortions while underlining the importance of patient safety.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson told SkyNews the AMA supports the move following the announcement by the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney, that the Therapeutic Goods Administration had removed some restrictions on health professionals who prescribe and dispense MS-2 Step.

Professor Robson said: “The AMA supports women having equal access to abortion while also ensuring safety and accessibility.

“Currently, prescribers of the medication must complete training and registration, but the AMA is open to expanded roles as long as safety is maintained.

“The medication can only be used up to nine weeks and not for ectopic pregnancies or for women with certain medical conditions or limited access to hospital care. While access in regional areas is important, special considerations must be taken to ensure safety.”

AMA Vice President Dr Danielle McMullen said on Nine’s Today Extra program that from August women in early pregnancy would no longer have to find a doctor who was specifically trained and registered to prescribe medication because any doctor or nurse would be able to do so and any pharmacy would also be able to stock the medicine.

“So we are hoping that this will improve access for women across Australia and reduce that stigma around medical terminations of pregnancy,” she said.

“For women who live in regional, remote and rural parts of the country, we are hoping that it will improve access across the country and encourage doctors and nurse practitioners to take up enough training to be comfortable to prescribe the medication in regional areas where we know waiting lists are long and it’s difficult to be seen in public or private for a surgical procedure to end a pregnancy.

“There are obviously some challenges. We do need to make sure that there is some surgical back-up in case of emergencies.

“But generally, for the vast majority of Australians this will be a helpful step to improve access and just cut back on that stigma and make it easier for women to make decisions about their reproductive healthcare.”

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