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BPAS clinic condemned by health watchdogs over safety issues after 11 women transferred to NHS for emergency treatment

1 February 2017

Another high-profile abortion provider has been savaged by a health watchdog over standards and the lack of care for women.

A report by the Care Quality Commission has produced a litany of criticisms at a clinic operated by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in Merseyside.

The damning document highlighted a catalogue of safety issues.

The local NHS trust had carried out a review because they had identified that there had been 16 serious incidents related to the service reported between January 2013 and February 2016. 

The service itself reported to the CQC that 11 women were transferred for emergency hospital treatment after suffering serious injuries between January 2013 - March 2016, including eight cases in a 15 month period from January 2015 - March 2016.

The report by the CQC -  the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England - was carried out in May and June last year but has only just been published. It states:

“All of these incidents resulted in patients being transferred to the local NHS trust for emergency care.”

Condemning the BPAS operation at their clinic in Parkfield Road, Liverpool, Dr Anthony McCarthy of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children - the world’s longest established pro-life group, said:

“This report focuses on a catalogue of safety concerns pointing to an inherent lack of care for women which is endemic to the for profit abortion industry.

“There has been a cavalier attitude to safety concerns and we are presented with a series of health and safety breaches that put the lives and health of women at risk. “

The report reveals that inspectors found:

  • infection control procedures were not always followed in theatre
  • no effective system was in place to ensure that resuscitation equipment was regularly checked to protect patients from avoidable harm
  • the local NHS Trust had been forced to raise concerns with the service and one of the local commissioners regarding the number of patients who had been transferred to emergency care and the quality of information that was provided on transfer
  • investigation reports completed following each serious incident did not identify and consider all relevant information and contributory factors

The report also highlights that the clinic was carrying out simultaneous administration of medications for early medical abortions, which is not in line with RCOG guidance.

The BPAS report comes just a month after the country’s biggest abortion provider, Marie Stopes International, suspended abortions after it was blasted by the CQC in another report for putting  women at risk by failing to adequately train staff and neglecting to obtain proper consent from patients. MSI was also condemned for throwing the bodies of aborted babies into open bins. BPAS has since taken over some of the contracts previously held by Marie Stopes. 

Anne Fearon, the chairman of SPUC Merseyside, and deputy chairman of the Society, said:

"It comes as no surprise, after the shocking revelations about Marie Stopes abortion clinics, that some of the same things are happening in those run by Britain’s other major private abortion provider.

"This report, which has uncovered failings in basic safety procedures, shows just how empty BPAS’ claims to care about women really are.

"They say that they 'trust women'. But women can't trust them to ensure that infection control procedures are followed.

"It's unbelievable that this BPAS clinic has been frequently hospitalising women and is allowed to stay open," Mrs Fearon continued. "This news shows once again that taxpayers money should not be funding these private abortion clinics which show such contempt for the safety and wellbeing of women, not to mention the hundreds of children that they casually slaughter every day.

"BPAS in particular is completely out of step with public opinion, in campaigning for abortion up to birth, and for any reason. If women are ending up in hospital after early abortions, it's frightening to think what would happen if BPAS got their way."

Dr McCarthy also emphasised that last year Ann Furedi, the head of BPAS, openly condemned Marie Stopes for putting women at risk in their clinics, going so far to say that she would be called upon to resign if these safety failures were found at BPAS. At that time she stated in public (link below):

"In response to a question on how I thought my board would respond in a similar situation, I said I thought they would take it extremely seriously. A failure of clinical governance in an organisation that is a specialist provider of abortion services is of the utmost seriousness and I would expect to see it being treated as a resignation issue for the chief executive."

Dr McCarthy said: "This begs the question: Will Ann Furedi follow her own advice and go?"

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