Data for 2006 show that 68 per cent of terminations take place at less than 10 weeks and 89 per cent at less than 13 weeks, according to a response to the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee's report on abortion. It recommended that the requirement be removed.
The government response added that: 'Two hospitals are being funded by the DoH to run early medical abortion services in non-traditional settings to evaluate the effectiveness of provision in these settings.'
A decision on terminations being performed in GP surgeries will be taken in 2008.
A DoH spokeswoman said: 'We have not made a decision on whether to set up abortion services in GP practices or any other non-traditional settings.'
Any GP practice undertaking terminations in the future would have to have 'appropriate medical expertise', she added.