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Abortion (Costs)

Health written statement – made on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

In response to detailed enquiries about the information provided in answer to previous parliamentary questions on the cost of providing abortions in the NHS in England the Department has concluded that it should change the methodology it uses to produce estimates of the costs of abortions.

There are discrepancies between the activity figures for abortion returned to the chief medical officer and the data submitted as part of the reference cost collection, which is the Department’s wider collection of NHS cost and activity data. As a result of this, and the lack of detailed information about the price NHS organisations pay to independent sector providers for the provision of abortion, we will, in future, estimate the costs to the NHS of providing abortion using the activity figures provided to the chief medical officer and an average of the national tariff paid within the NHS for procedures including abortion. This is likely to overestimate total costs as we are aware that contracts with independent sector providers are generally at a lower price than the national tariff.

The table below shows the data used to produce previous estimates of abortion costs and the revised approach:

  Previous Method New Method
Time period: 2009-10 financial year Activity: 2010 calendar year Tariff: 2010-11 financial year
Sources: Reference cost collection (4,5,6) CMO abortion statistics (6,7) Payments by Results Tariff
Reported activity Unit Cost (£) Total cost (£m) Reported activity Tariff (£) Total cost (£m)
NHS(1) 118,000 695 83 64,000 680 44
Independent(2) 18,000 420 8 109,000 680 75
Total(3) 136,000 660 90 173,000 680 118
Notes: (1)NHS provider (2)NHS funded but delivered by independent sector provider (3)The totals may not sum due to rounding (4)Published on the Department’s website— http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_123459. The NHS data are from the “NHS trust and PCT combined reference cost schedules”. The independent data are from “Non NHS provider schedules”. The following HRGs have been included—MA17C, MA17D, MA18D, MA19B AND MA20Z. (5)Not all spontaneous abortions are included (HRG MB08Z) (6)England data (7)The 2010-11 Combined Daycase/Elective and Non-Elective Tariffs have been used.