The long-awaited guidance document for health professionals on the operation of the new abortion law has been completed.
The guidelines are now three months overdue, although the Department of Health says they are not required for the implementation of the termination law, which has been in effect since January.
The Department told irishhealth.com that a final draft of the guidance document to assist health professionals in the implementation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 has been signed off by the Committee tasked with drawing up the guidelines.
"It is expected that this document will be ready for publication and dissemination shortly," a Department spokesman said.
The Department says the guidance will include identifying referral pathways to fulfil the requirement of the Act and other relevant operational matters.
It added that the the relevant professional bodies continue to be responsible for issuing clinical guidelines to their members in relation to medical conditions that might be relevant to the Act.
The Department also pointed out that the abortion law does not include any provision about the guidance document 'and therefore the completion and publication of such a document is not required for the implementation of the Act'.
The abortion law formally commenced in January of this year. The guidelines were expected to be published by the beginning of this year.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.