Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Marie Stopes Pregnancy Termination Services Restricted by CQC

Following CQC inspections of Marie Stopes International’s services in England termination procedures have been suspended.

The CQC inspected the organisation’s headquarters during July, and their call centre in the 2nd week of August this year. As a result of their findings (due to be reported on in full in the Autumn) Marie Stopes International has already agreed to:

  • Suspended termination of pregnancy provision for under-18s and vulnerable groups of women.
  • Suspended terminations under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation.
  • Suspended all surgical terminations at their Norwich centre.
The CQC has told Marie Stopes International that these restrictions must remain in place until the CQC has been assured that appropriate systems are in place to care for all Marie Stopes patients safely.

The concerns raised by inspectors relate to poor governance arrangements and a lack of assurance in MSI, in areas including consent and safeguarding and the lack of assurance in relation to training and competence in conscious sedation and general anaesthesia. The CQC is unable to release further information at this stage due to the regulatory process, but they have stressed that details of concerns raised will be included in full in its inspection report, due for release in the Autumn.

Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: "Given the nature of the concerns we identified on our inspections, it is right that Marie Stopes International has suspended a number of its services.

"At all times, our priority is to ensure that patients get safe, high-quality and compassionate care. We believe that the action taken is appropriate to address our concerns.

"We will continue to monitor these services very closely and we will not hesitate to take further action, if needed.

"We will report fully and publicly on our inspection findings as soon as our regulatory process has concluded and we are able to do so."

In response to the issues identified by the CQC and the actions taken by Marie Stopes International, NHS England has activated contingency arrangements to ensure that all patients seeking the services that are currently suspended receive safe and high-quality care.

This will mean diverting around 250 women a week to other providers and it has established a confidential helpline service for those with concerns and questions. This number is 0300 123 1041 (9am to 5pm at the weekends and 9am to 8pm during the week). In Ireland the number to call is 1800 882 677.

The Government has also informed Marie Stopes International that Ministers will not give approval for further clinics – in accordance with their statutory role – to offer termination services until the CQC are satisfied that their concerns have been fully addressed.

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