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Could any amount of training adequately prepare anyone emotionally for late term abortions?

8 November 2016


​Should nursing staff have to deal with late term abortions?

A Care Quality Commission report into the Birmingham Women's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has highlighted concerns about the training nurses are given on late term abortion.

The report said that "nurses...expressed concerns they had not received training that would equip them to deal with the physical and emotional aspects of advanced gestation abortions".

The report also raised other concerns about "termination of pregnancy services", including consent to termination of pregnancy from adult patients with learning disabilities".

Babies born alive? 

It also recommended "appropriate procedures for late gestation termination of pregnancy in cases where the foetus may be indicating signs of life". Nurses reported "occasions when the condition of the foetus had given them cause for concern and the action they should take had been unclear". The report goes on to say that "despite the reported incidents there was no written guidance for staff and no training plan. However, there was some guidance, about foetal signs of life, being trialled on wards at the time of our visit". This indicates that the "incidents" referred to involved babies being delivered alive.

Women let down 

Commenting on the report, Clare Bremner of Abortion Recovery Care Helpline (ARCH) noted how badly the Trust had failed. She added that women were being let down by abortion practices "in the wider context by our culture which so often promotes abortion as the only solution without providing real choice and with negligible regard to the consequences."

Referring to the role of nurses undertaking abortions at the hospital, Ms Bremner added: "We also have to ask, could any amount of training adequately prepare anyone emotionally for late term abortions?"

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