Northern Ireland news

New taskforce calls on Executive to urgently improve sex education services to promote 'healthy relationships'

Doctors, nurses, midwives, GPs and academics make up the group and urge the Executive to commission and fund these services "without delay"

A TASKFORCE made up of healthcare professionals and academics has called on the Executive to urgently fund education services to promote "healthy relationships" and consent.

The Northern Ireland Abortion and Contraception Taskgroup has published a report containing 38 recommendations centring on a "new approach to relationships and sex education (RSE), contraception and abortion care".

Doctors, nurses, midwives, GPs and academics make up the group and urge the Executive to commission and fund these services "without delay".

The report's release coincides with the first anniversary of abortion services coming in effect in Northern Ireland but which are are yet to be commissioned.

The authors say their "vision" is that all children and young people should be provided with a high-quality education that teaches them about "healthy relationships, consent, sexuality, and the ability to decide when, and if, to start a family".

Dr Ralph Roberts, group chair, said:

"Our report provides a number of recommendations which, if followed, would finally deliver high-quality services and meet our legal obligations.

"The Executive has resisted every opportunity to take action. It is time for them to stop playing politics and to start providing women with the services they are legally entitled to.”

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "The UK Government has made it clear that the delay in funding and commissioning abortion care services.. cannot continue.

"This report clearly demonstrates the value of providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to women, and importantly provides the solutions for how to make this a reality. There can be no more excuses for dither and delay, it is time for the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver for girls and women."

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