Abortion clinics to be subject to ratings
14 September 2017
A follow up inspection found that 11 women were hospitalised by Marie Stopes in 2 months.
Ratings do not go far enough, but extra scrutiny is welcome.
For the first time, abortion providers will be given ratings like other "health and social care" providers, the Government has announced. New laws mean that private providers will be assessed and forced to conspicuously display their rating, from "outstanding" to "inadequate".
"Lottery of poor practice"
Health minister Philip Dunne said: "These new powers will help the CQC to shine a light on poor practice in services that for too long have had too many examples of substandard care. This is an important step forward in improving standards across a range of services and empowering patients to choose only those clinics they feel confident in.
"Giving a wider scope and more power to the CQC helps to end the lottery of poor practice in parts of the country and gets us closer to our goal of making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world."
Scandals forced Government to act
The move follows a string of scandals which have rocked the abortion industry.
Inspections of Marie Stopes clinics by the CQC recently found 373 botched abortions carried out in two months, and 11 women being transferred to emergency care in another two month period. A previous report, published in December, found major safety flaws at the organisation's clinics, with more than 2,600 serious incidents reported in 2015, forcing MSI to suspend services for underage girls and vulnerable women. Failures included doctors going home while women remained sedated and foetuses thrown into bins instead of being cremated.
Shut them down
In a press release, John Smeaton, CEO of SPUC, said that the move does not go far enough: "This news is adding insult to injury," he said. "The appalling suffering which these clinics have imposed on women has been made abundantly clear through the recent CQC investigations, as has their complete disregard for the law of the land, not to speak of human life.
"Marie Stopes was found to have been guilty of thousands of safety breaches in December, and, several months on, inspectors found little improvement in key areas – they are still routinely hospitalising women and have failed to implement basic safety procedures. The time for ratings is long past – they need to be shut down, now."
What more will emerge?
However, he welcomed the increased scrutiny under which the move will put the abortion industry.
"There is no ‘good’ way to do an abortion, and the idea of some clinics getting a ‘good’ or even ‘outstanding’ rating is utterly repellent. Having said that, some clinics’ practices are even worse than others, and, at least the Government is giving some recognition to the concerns being raised," Mr Smeaton said. "At a time when the abortion industry is campaigning hard to have any legal restrictions on abortion removed, putting clinics under more searching scrutiny is in principle something to be welcomed. If all these failings have come to light with the minimal checks in place now, we can expect to see far more coming to light if clinics are more seriously investigated."
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