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NI women can access free abortions through NHS Scotland

Women from Northern Ireland can now access abortions free of charge through NHS Scotland.

Regulations laid in the Scottish Parliament in October to allow the provision of the service to women from Northern Ireland come into force on Monday.

Work is also ongoing to assess what support can be given to address barriers preventing some women from Northern Ireland from accessing the services.

Scotland's Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: "Abortion can be an emotive subject however I am proud this government is working hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services.

"That's why we have taken action to ensure that women from Northern Ireland can freely access abortion services through NHS Scotland.

"I also recognise the barriers that women from Northern Ireland face when they have to travel to access abortion services which is why we are exploring what more we can do to address them.

"Once again this underlines Scotland's commitment to ensuring we have a health service that puts patient care and dignity at its very heart."

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Mother’s fight to get further life-saving treatment for son

The mother of a young boy from Co Tyrone, who suffers from severe epilepsy, is fighting to get further life-saving treatment for him in the US after his seizures returned.

Charlotte Caldwell says her 11-year-old son Billy can't get the urgent medical care he needs in the UK.

When Billy was a baby doctors told the family it was unlikely he would survive, so they raised money for specialist treatment in Chicago.

His condition improved and years of intensive physiotherapy in America and England means he is able to walk.

But now Billy’s seizures have returned in number and severity.

“This is something we never anticipated would happen again, it’s a serious breakthrough of seizures that he’s now dealing with,” Charlotte told UTV.

“They could strike at any minute, day or night, you just have no idea when he’s going to take one, so you’re watching him all the time and listening for him all the time, the fear is in me if I didn’t spot it and he didn’t get his rescue medication, that the seizure would take his wee life.”

Charlotte is attempting to raise £300,000 to pay for a new treatment programme. She hopes the money will be found to give her son a chance to live.

She added: “This time round Billy could be a good candidate for surgery because he has now grown and his brain could show up a lesion or focus on where these new breakthrough of seizures are coming from and could be removed.”

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