Medical practices across Donegal are to begin providing free contraception to females aged between 17-25 from today.

The Government scheme aims to reduce financial burdens on women who use contraceptives. Costs for the Pill and similar repeat prescription contraceptives currently cost an estimated €65-100 every six months. The initial costs of long-acting reversible contraception, including consultation, purchase of the device and fitting, typically range from €250-€320.  If the costs of removal are also included, the costs rise to €340-€470.

Contraceptive options available through the scheme include contraceptive injections, implants, IUS and IUDs (coils), the contraceptive patch and ring, and various forms of oral contraceptive pill, including emergency contraception.

Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice in Letterkenny issued an explainer to patients today, saying: “Practically all forms of contraception are covered. This includes your initial GP consultation, prescription, insertion or removal of device if applicable, injection and follow-up contraception consultations.”

Patients are advised to contact their local practice for further information. Women must have a valid PPS number to access the free scheme.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, announcing the scheme in July, said: “Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefitting their partners and families, starting with women aged 17-25.”