Abortion Services in Tayside

Patients can now refer directly into the  abortion Service by dialing 01382 496762.  This telephone will be answered Monday to Friday 08:00 – 17:00 hours with an answer phone message out of hours advising what to do.

Abortion is when a pregnancy is ended so that it doesn’t result in the birth of a child. Sometimes it is called termination of pregnancy.

The decision to have an abortion is not easy and it can be a very emotional time.  Talking to people you trust and making sure you have accurate information and support can help. It is important that you seek advice as early as possible.

If you decide to have an abortion you will be supported by the NHS to do this in a non judgemental way and in confidence. Abortion is free throughout the NHS.

Having an abortion can be an emotional and traumatic experience, and counselling can help support you through this time. Pre & post termination counselling is available through the NHS or through independent organisations.

You can now self refer for an abortion. When you call you will be booked in for a telephone consultation with a nurse or doctor. This consultation will last approximately 30 minutes. It includes an assessment, what the treatment and procedure involves & discussion about contraception.

You will also be given the opportunity to have an appointment for counselling if you are unsure about whether or not to have an abortion.

There are two types of abortion: medical and surgical.

You will be assessed through a telephone consultation to ensure this is the correct treatment for you. Early medical abortion can be managed at home up to 11weeks +6 days of pregnancy in Tayside. After 11 weeks + 6 days, a medical abortion will take place in the hospital. In Tayside this will be Ninewells Hospital in Dundee

Early medical abortion at home (up to 11th +6 week of pregnancy only)

  • This means less than 11 weeks +6  days since your last period not 11 weeks  +6 days since you last had sex.
  • Medication will be available for you to collect from the clinic
  • At home you will swallow one tablet of mifepristone.
  • Then one or two days later you will place 4 tablets of misoprostol under your tongue for 30 minutes OR
  • Alternatively you can insert the 4 tablets of misoprostol into your vagina.
  • You will be given 24 hr contact support numbers.
  • Two weeks later you will take a pregnancy test.
  • We would like you to telephone us with the result so we can ensure the procedure is complete and you have no other health  concerns

Please watch this film on what happens when you have an Early Medical Abortion

Please note that this film gives information on what happens usually at our service for an early medical abortion and doesn’t include the current temporary changes.

It states this treatment will take place up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. This has changed temporarily to 11 weeks +6 days of pregnancy. The film also states that the first part of the treatment will happen at a clinic, but as explained above this has changed for the current time and both parts of the medication will be taken at home (up to 11 weeks +6 days of pregnancy).


After a telephone consultation you will be asked to come into the hospital for a scan and some tests.

Medical abortion in hospital is available up to 18 weeks and 6 days in Tayside.

You will swallow a tablet of mifepristone and then 2 days later you will be admitted to hospital for treatment with several doses of misoprostol every few hours until you pass the pregnancy.

At this stage of pregnancy the abortion takes longer and you may experience more pain and bleeding. In most cases the treatment is over in one day but sometimes you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

Surgical termination of pregnancy for gestations under 10 weeks are performed under local anaesthetic.

  • you will have some period type cramping for a day or two after you’ve passed the pregnancy
  • you can expect to have some bleeding for up to 2 weeks
  • do not have penetrative vaginal sex until  all bleeding has stopped
  • Emotionally  you can experience many feelings. It is always important to seek help and support you feeling distressed
  • Alternatives Listening Rooms provide a free counselling service for pre & post abortion.

Considering an Abortion

Making choices around an unintended pregnancy can be complicated and difficult and especially so during this time.  You may have more fears or concerns, or you may feel more isolated.  Most abortions are happening in people’s homes, for some this is helpful, for others it is more difficult.

After an Abortion

The decision to have an abortion can be a difficult one.  There can be a lot of feelings afterwards.  For some, the main feeling is relief.  Others feel distressed and upset, but do not know where to turn for help.  Many years later these feelings may have not gone away.

Feeling distressed or numb can be upsetting and can cause anxiety.  It can be helpful to have someone to talk things through.  The counselling service provides a space where you can piece together what has happened and work out what you feel.

Alternative Listening Rooms also offer pre and post-abortion support online and by telephone.  Their website has an excellent resources page.

This is not an emergency service and if you need urgent support we would recommend you contact one of the following services:

  • Samaritans (telephone counselling): 116123
  • Breathing Space (telephone support): 0800838587
  • Emergency Services: 999

NHS Lothian have developed a short film on abortion. There are some differences with the services NHS Tayside deliver, but we think this is a useful resource

  • In Tayside, at this time, you can self refer  directly into the  abortion Service by dialing 01382 496762.  This number will be kept solely for abortion referrals.  This telephone will be answered Monday to Friday 08:00 – 17:00 hours with an answer phone message out of hours advising what to do.