Termination of pregnancy (abortion)

Introduction

The Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act was passed in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly on 21 March 2017 and commenced on 1 July 2017.  Regulations have been made under the Act.

The following documentation has been developed to support medical and health professionals appropriately respond to requests for termination of pregnancy services.

Legislation and Regulations

Policy

Clinical Guidelines

Forms

Factsheets

Consumer information

Professional Standards

Contacts

  • For more information about the law reform and clinical guidelines, contact the Department of Health’s Women’s Health Strategy Unit:
    Phone: (08) 8985 8018
    WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au

Credentialing for medical practitioners

The Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Regulations (the regulations) state directives and set penalties under the Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act.  This includes the setting and verification of credentials by the Chief Health Officer.

  1. This information is available as a factsheet.
  2. A credentialing form has been developed to assist medical practitioners and their organisations to meet the credentialing requirements
  3. For more information, see the Northern Territory Clinical Guidelines for Termination of Pregnancy

If you have any questions about the credentialing process, contact the Women’s Health Strategy Unit: Phone: (08) 8985 8018 or email WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au

Medical practitioners

Other than in circumstances where a termination is necessary to preserve the life of the woman, a termination of pregnancy must be performed by a suitably qualified medical practitioner.

If the medical practitioner is not registered to practice as an obstetrician or gynaecologist, they will need to undergo a credentialing process to be confirmed as having obtained qualifications in the provision of advice, performance of procedures and giving treatment in the area of fertility control before performing or directing the performance of any termination of pregnancy procedures in the Northern Territory.

The credentialing process

Credentialing means the process of verifying qualifications, training, experience, professional standing and other relevant professional attributes of a medical practitioner used for the purpose of forming a view about the competence, performance and professional suitability of the medical practitioner.

The 2004 National Standard for Credentialing and Defining the Scope of Clinical Practice is the standard to be applied for the setting of credentials.

Credentialing for a suitably qualified medical practitioner

 The definition of ‘suitably qualified medical practitioner’ in the Act requires that the medical practitioner:

a)  is an obstetrician or gynaecologist or

b)  is credentialed in the provision of advice, performance of procedures and giving treatment in the area of fertility control

The Chief Health Officer has set the following credentials as being required for recognition as a ‘suitably qualified medical practitioner’. A medical practitioner must be able to satisfy the Chief Health Officer (or a delegate of the Chief Health Officer) that they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • AHPRA registration as a specialist obstetrician or gynaecologist
  • an award of the DRANZCOG Advanced qualification from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • AHPRA registration as a medical practitioner who is currently certified under the Therapeutic Goods Administration licensing conditions to prescribe MS- 2Step
  • AHPRA registration as a medical practitioner, who also has sufficient experience in the surgical performance of termination of pregnancy to be deemed, by an independent practising gynaecologist, as being competent to perform surgical termination procedures independently and safely

A registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology or general practice may act as a suitably qualified medical practitioner, if acting under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical practitioner. A registrar’s ability to prescribe MS-2Step in such circumstances depends on his/her certification under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) licensing conditions.

A suitably qualified medical practitioner’s scope of practice depends on his/her credentials. A suitably qualified medical practitioner whose credentials are restricted to TGA prescriber certification only, cannot undertake surgical termination procedures. A suitably qualified medical practitioner whose credentials are restricted to surgical procedures only, cannot undertake medical terminations of pregnancy.

Contacts

For more information about credentialing for medical practitioners, contact the Department of Health’s Women’s Health Strategy Unit:

Phone: (08) 8985 8018

WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au


Prescribed information reporting requirements

The Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Regulations (the regulations) state directives and set penalties under the Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act (2017).

Part 4 of the regulations sets out the prescribed information which suitably qualified medical practitioners must provide to the Department of Health when they perform terminations of pregnancy. The regulations also set the prescribed timeframes for providing this information. There is a penalty for non-compliance however this is waived if there is a reasonable excuse.

  1. This information is available as a factsheet.
  2. The prescribed information reporting form has been developed to assist medical practitioners and their organisations to meet their reporting requirements.
  3. For more information, see the Northern Territory Clinical Guidelines for Termination of Pregnancy.

Prescribed information

The prescribed information which must be provided is:

  • date of birth of the woman
  • gestational age
  • the date the termination was performed
  • the method of termination
  • region of woman’s usual residence (based on local government areas)
  • full name and provider number of the suitably qualified medical practitioner performing the termination
  • full name and provider number of the second suitably qualified medical practitioner consulted for post 14 week termination of pregnancy
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status of the woman
  • the location where the termination was initiated (for early medical terminations) or performed (for surgical terminations including terminations post 14-weeks)
  • the name of the facility (where relevant)
  • that a check-up appointment was made.

Reporting timeframes

For surgical terminations reporting must be completed within 28 days of performance of the termination.

For early medical terminations reporting must be completed within 28 days of the medical practitioner's last consultation with the woman.

For any other termination (for example a combination of medical and surgical) – within 28 days after performance of termination.

What is the purpose of collecting prescribed information

The purpose of collecting this set of data is to ensure women’s safety, determine the effectiveness of the legislative changes and to assist with planning future sexual and reproduction health initiatives for women in the Northern Territory. Confidentiality remains a priority and the woman’s identify is not part of the prescribed information.

What happens to the prescribed information

The information will be gathered and entered into a database that is managed according to the same strict confidentiality requirements that apply to all other information collected for health related purposes (for example, in the same way that information is collected, stored and used for the Northern Territory perinatal register and cancer registers).

The Chief Health Officer will provide reports to the NT Health Chief Executive relating to terminations of pregnancy and related services across the Northern Territory.

Prescribed information reporting form (an Approved Form)

The Chief Health Officer has approved the prescribed information reporting form.

Completed forms must be sent to: WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au or PO Box 40596 Casuarina NT 0811

Penalties

The regulations set out penalties for failure to provide prescribed information within the prescribed time. A penalty will not be incurred if a reasonable explanation can be provided.

Contacts

For more information about the prescribed information reporting requirements contact the Department of Health’s Women’s Health Strategy Unit:

Phone: (08) 8985 8018

WomensHealth.DoH@nt.gov.au