Abortion Providers (Inspections)
Andrew Lansley (Secretary of State, Health; South Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
Following reports of potential breaches of the Abortion Act 1967, in March 2012 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook a series of unannounced inspections of all abortion providers. The focus of these inspections was whether abortion certificates (Form HSA1) had
been signed by doctors before a woman had been seen in the clinic. The law requires two doctors to certify that at least one (and the same) ground for abortion exists in relation to a specific woman.
At the end of the inspection process, the CQC set up a national quality assurance panel to review findings, judgments and action. The CQC have today published 249 inspection reports on their website, www.cqc.org.uk. Inspectors seized evidence from around a fifth of providers where issues of consistency and completeness of HSA1 forms were identified. Clear evidence of pre-signing was identified in a total of 14 providers and the CQC have required compliance actions be taken by all of these providers to ensure that their practices meet the standards set in law by a set date.
Investigations by the police, General Medical Council, and Nursing and Midwifery Council continue and further referrals may result from the publication of the CQC reports. We await the outcome of these investigations.
In the meantime, my officials will work with a number of bodies including the CQC and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to address the findings from these inspections.