Voice For Choice is not surprised to hear the CQC’s investigation found the vast majority of abortion services were found to be completely compliant with law and regulations. Of the cases that were found to be in breach of regulations most of these cases were of errors on forms or incomplete form filling. There is no suggestion that there has been any shortfall in the care of women in these services.
The unprecedented investigation seems to be part of a general attempt to discredit abortion services by some elements of the media and some politicians. Over recent weeks these people have been quick, pre-emptively, to claim that the CQC investigations showed that women were being let down. The results of the investigation show no such thing. In its statement on the inspections the CQC says ‘CQC did not find any evidence that any women had poor outcomes of care at any of these locations.’
In fact doctors who are doing everything possible to improve services for women – and have been incredibly successful in helping increase the proportion of abortions happening earlier in pregnancy, in line with recommendations from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Department of Health – have been subject to threats of legal action and suspension.
The CQC is right to provide clarification for doctors on what is and is not good practice. However, we deplore the effect this highly politicised and publicised investigation has had on those providing abortion. It has created a climate of fear amongst doctors and made some reorganise their services in ways that are actually creating delays for women and additional costs to the NHS.
One in three women in the UK will access abortion in their lifetime. A relatively small number of doctors provide this service. They absolutely must be supported to do their job which is a vital element of health service provision.
Please contact the Voice for Choice Spokesperson:
Lisa Hallgarten – lhallgarten[at]rhmjournal.org.uk
Voice for Choice is a coalition of organisations committed to defending and extending women’s choice on abortion. Members include: Abortion Rights, Antenatal Results and Choices, bpas, Brook, Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion, Education For Choice, Pro-choice Forum, Reproductive Health Matters.