BPAS clinic continues to put women at risk, damning new report says

11 November 2019

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Two years after it was slammed by health watchdogs for a catalogue of safety abuses, the BPAS abortion clinic in Merseyside is still putting women at risk. It has been given the worst rating of any abortion clinic in the country. BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) is Britain’s biggest abortion provider.

“This is a shocking report,” said Alithea Williams of SPUC. Ms Williams continued: “Women’s health is being put at risk and, of course, every abortion involves killing an unborn baby."

The Findings 

Among the findings in the report, published in September, are six cases of women who “required urgent medical attention due to complications and were transferred from the service to another healthcare provider between January and December 2018.” Most damningly, the CQC were actually contacted by the local NHS trust in March 2018, “who raised concerns regarding the frequency of patients coming to them from BPAS Merseyside.”

This is not the first time that the NHS has raised concerns about the care given to women at BPAS Merseyside. The 2017 CQC report said that 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. 

When the CQC rates abortion clinics, they ask if they are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well-led. BPAS Merseyside was rated as “requires improvement” on both safety and leadership. It was also the only clinic to be given an overall rating of “requires improvement since ratings were introduced in September 2017.

“Whereas the only real ‘improvement’ would be for this BPAS clinic, and every other abortion clinic to be closed down completely, there are a number of truly shocking safety concerns in this latest report,” continued Ms Williams.

Inspectors found that “the service did not consistently follow best practice when prescribing, giving, recording and storing medicines. We found out of date medicines in the clinic rooms and on the emergency drugs trolley and the controlled drug register was not always accurately completed.” This breaches several legal requirements, and the clinic has been ordered that “care and treatment must be must be provided in a safe way including the proper and safe management of medicines.”

Inspectors also found that “staff did not consistently adhere to the infection prevention and control measures specified by the service” including:

  • not washing hands,
  • not securing clinical waste,
  • and using out of date equipment.

In addition, risk assessments were not fully completed.

The clinic was also found to be in breach of duty of candour regulations, as it did not always provide a written apology to the patient after a notifiable safety incident, in line with legislation and BPAS policy.

Many of the findings echo the 2017 report, which highlighted a catalogue of safety issues, including:

  • infection control procedures not being followed,
  • no effective systems being in place to ensure resuscitation equipment was regularly checked to protect patients from avoidable harm,
  • and incidents not being properly investigated.

The CQC has also been carrying out inspections on Marie Stopes clinics. Although they have so far all been rated ‘good’, and some improvements have been made since the abortion chain was found guilty of thousands of safety breaches in 2016, there are still numerous outstanding concerns, especially around governance and the monitoring of incidents.