WOMEN in Somerset seeking an abortion can now access a new service.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service have won a two-year contract to manage the assessment and referrals for abortions through the Somerset Central Booking Service.

The NHS-funded service will provide a 24/7 service for all 365 days of the year, providing pregnancy advice and for those women choosing to have an abortion an appointment for a clinical assessment and referral for an abortion through a single point of access.

Women can expect an appointment within five working days.

Rosemary Cutmore, from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “It is important that women have access to a booking service which offers them confidentiality, choice and rapid access to unplanned pregnancy and abortion services.

"Referrals are accepted from health and social care professionals as well as women self-referring into the service.”

Lucy Watson, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s director of quality and patient safety, said: “It is well known that early access to abortion services provides more choices including early medical abortions and helps reduce the risk of clinical complications.

"The new booking service will work with those services providing abortion care for women in Somerset ensuring that women are directed to the most appropriate provider dependent on wait time, geographical location and patient choice.

"It will also be working closely with GPs and health professionals and the county’s Somerset-wide Integrated Sexual Health Service to support access for those women who choose to have an abortion whilst improving access to contraception including long-acting reversible contraception.”

The new contact number for booking an appointment with the Somerset Central Booking Centre is 0345-0130124.