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Women are waiting too long for abortions, health watchdog finds



Women are waiting too long for abortions, according to a major review into a leading UK provider.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) review of the leadership at the abortion provider the British Pregnancy Advisory Service found there were “delays” in “investigating incidents”.

The remains of some pregnancies were sometimes not stored properly and there were issues were record keeping, patient monitoring and safe care, the review found.

The watchdog also noted “women did not always receive care in a timely way to meet their needs”.

British Pregnancy Advisory Service delivers pregnancy terminations for the NHS to more than 100,000 women every year, with 49 clinics in England coming under the CQC’s remit.


The health watchdog said: “In August 2021 we found significant concerns in we found that safe care was not being provided; ineffective safeguarding processes; incomplete risk assessments were not fully completed; observations were not monitored or recorded; records were not fully completed, clear or up to date.”

The regulator also raised concerns about “ineffective systems to safely prescribe, administer and store medicines”, warned staff did not always recognise and report incidents and managers did not consistently check staff followed national and local guidance.

The watchdog stated, “staff did not always support clients to make informed decisions about their care and treatment”.

Its review discovered there was no system to track risks and no clear route by which local risks could be escalated to the executive team, the CQC said.

Commenting on the review, Richard Bentley, of MSI Reproductive Choices, the UK’s leading abortion provider, told The Independent: “All abortion providers are operating against a tough backdrop. Not only is there unprecedented demand, but abortion services have been underfunded for far too long.

“At MSI, we work hard to innovate and invest, and we will keep on doing so until everyone who needs or wants an abortion is able to access the high-quality care they deserve.”

A spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the report raised some concerns around governance and oversight that it was taking action to address.


The representative explained the provider has provided healthcare for “record numbers of women” during the past three years and said it was “proud to have preserved access during the pandemic through the development of our world-leading telemedical abortion service”.

“The pace of change has been intense, and the rise in women’s needs has increased the pressure on our organisation,” the spokesperson added. “After a period of significant growth at a service level, we are now focused on ensuring that our policies, procedures, and structures are fully suited to the size and scale of the charity we have become.”

Feedback given via the organisation’s online client satisfaction survey demonstrated 98 per cent of those polled would recommend the abortion provider to an individual in need of care, it said.

Source: Independent

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