Tallaght clinic provided sexual health services to 4,000 people in 2022
Contraception, cervical screening, and abortion care are the most sought-after services
More than 4,000 people from the Tallaght area accessed sexual and reproductive healthcare with the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) last year. The organisation published the figures as it launched its new-look clinic at The Square shopping centre.
Dr Caitriona Henchion, IFPA Medical Director, said: “Contraception is our most sought-after service, accounting for 35% of all appointments in 2022. This was followed by cervical screening (21%) and abortion care (11%). Clients also accessed menopause care, pregnancy counselling, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”
Introducing the new-look clinic
Eimir Molloy, IFPA Clinical Operations Manager said: “We’re delighted to welcome people from the Tallaght area into our newly designed clinic waiting room.
“We have made a range of improvements, based on the knowledge and experience of our staff. We’ve also consulted with organisations that focus on women’s sexual and reproductive health needs.
“We have softened the lighting, introduced new posters and signage, and opened up the space to make it brighter and more welcoming. This is a space that reflects our values and we hope it will positively impact on clients’ experience of using our services.”
A client centred space, designed to reduce the stress of waiting for healthcare
Dr Caitríona Henchion, IFPA Medical Director said, “Waiting for healthcare can be stressful for anyone, whether it’s cervical screening, an abortion appointment, having a contraceptive device fitted or removed, or an STI test.
“With that in mind, we’ve created a fresher, brighter, more open and friendly space for our clients, with posters and materials that promote sexual and reproductive health and raise awareness of bodily autonomy and rights.”
Supporting partners, friends and families
Dr Henchion said, “Those who are attending for early abortion care have additional stress to contend with: the mandatory three-day waiting period imposed by the law.
“This waiting period can also be stressful for the partners, friends or family members of a person seeking abortion care. They may want to be supportive, but not know how.
“We’ve created a new leaflet to help. It provides basic information about the abortion process and offers suggestions for ways to support the pregnant woman.”
Sexual and reproductive healthcare transformation in Ireland
Reflecting on her more than 20 years of providing services in Tallaght, Dr Henchion said:
“Sexual and reproductive healthcare has been transformed in Ireland. Contraception, abortion and sexual health are now within the mainstream of essential public health services. And there is wider understanding that these services are not only critical to health and wellbeing, but to gender equality and human rights more broadly.
“But there is more to be done if everyone in Ireland is to have equitable access to this essential healthcare. The free contraception scheme must be extended from the current age-group, 17- to 30-year-olds, to include older and younger age groups who are at risk of unintended pregnancy. And the remaining legal barriers to access to abortion must be removed, including the medically unnecessary three-day wait.”
Eimir Molloy, Clinic Operations Manager concluded: “The new-look clinic reflects the IFPA’s values and our commitment to providing access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare services and information in the community.
“Our dedicated, expert team are looking forward to welcoming clients who want a specialist service where they can get the best possible information, advice and healthcare for their sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.”
Notes to the Editor
Since opening in 1992, the IFPA’s specialist clinic has become a Tallaght institution, where local people can access a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services. These include contraception, abortion care, pregnancy counselling, cervical screening, STI testing and treatment, menopause check-ups and treatment for women who have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).
The IFPA was founded in 1969 at a time when contraception and abortion were against the law. The organisation now provides both services here at The Square.
In September 2022, the government’s free contraception scheme enabled 17- to 25-year-olds to access contraceptive methods free of charge. The scheme was extended up to 30-year-olds from this month (September 2023). The IFPA provides contraceptive counselling and a full range of contraceptive methods at its Tallaght clinic.
Abortion services became legal in 2019. The IFPA provides early medical abortion up to 9 weeks of pregnancy and our staff can arrange referral for hospital-based abortion care for people who are 10-12 weeks pregnant.
The IFPA provides free counselling for clients who have chosen to access abortion care, who need support or someone to talk to about an unintended or a crisis pregnancy or a previous abortion. A free post-abortion medical check-up is also available.