Objective: To determine the potential cost savings resulting from the introduction of routine early medical abortion (EMA) at home by telemedicine in the UK.
Design: A costing study.
Setting: The UK.
Population: Women in 2020 undergoing EMA provided by three independent abortion providers and two National Health Service (NHS) abortion clinics.
Methods: Computation of the costs of each abortion procedure and of managing failed or incomplete abortion and haemorrhage requiring blood transfusion.
Main outcome measures: Cost savings.
Results: Overall estimated cost savings are £15.80 per abortion undertaken by independent abortion providers, representing a saving to the NHS of over £3 million per year. Limited data from NHS services resulted in an estimated average saving of £188.84 per abortion.
Conclusions: Were telemedicine EMA to become routine, an increase in the number of women eligible for medical rather than surgical abortion, and a reduction in adverse events resulting from earlier abortion, could result in significant cost savings.
Tweetable abstract: Early medical abortion at home using telemedicine could save the NHS £3 million per year.
Keywords: Abortion; economics of health care; termination of pregnancy.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.