Friday, 23 December 2016

High-quality abortion services come at a price, so let’s pay it

High-quality abortion services come at a price, so let’s pay it Abortion care charities now have to compete for contracts – and NHS cost-cutting means the cheapest service is almost always commissioned

Abortion today is an extremely safe, straightforward procedure, provided in a highly regulated environment. One in three women in the UK will have an abortion in her lifetime, funded by the NHS (except if she lives in Northern Ireland). This will usually take place within an NHS hospital or in a centre run by one of the independent charitable providers – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or Marie Stopes International (MSI). But just because it is safe doesn’t mean corners can be cut, or providers can pick and mix from rules and regulations, as was unearthed in the course of the care quality commission’s investigation of MSI.

Some of the failings found at MSI have no implications for safety. The batch signing of abortion forms, for example, has no clinical significance – it is simply a legal requirement that all women have their abortion request legally authorised by two doctors. But the other problems uncovered – from clear deficits in clinical governance at the top level through to problems with safeguarding and consent, to the report of the appalling handling of a vulnerable patient – can leave us in no doubt that the CQC was not over-reacting when it requested MSI suspend its services over safety concerns earlier this year.

With NHS funds shaved, the price commissioners will pay is driven down Continue reading... The Guardian

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