South Yorkshire abortion clinic placed into special measures by government inspectors

An abortion clincic in Doncaster has been placed into special measures following a damning inspection by government regulators.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 11:47 am
The abortion clinic on Thorne Road

Care Quality Commission inspectors ruled that BPAS Doncaster on Thorne Road scored ‘inadequate’ marks for safety and the unit’s management.

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Sheffield women aged 35 and over having more abortions

CQC officials will inspect the service again within six months and could shut the clinic down if enough improvements are not made.

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From April 2020 to March 2021, the centre carried out 904 surgical terminations of pregnancy under local anaesthetic/conscious sedation and under general anaesthetic.

There were 1,897 early medical abortions and 136 late medical terminations of pregnancy. The service also carried out 184 non-scalpel vasectomies.

Six complaints were received within the reporting period from August 2020 to August 2021.

From December 2020 to May 2021, there had been 12 patients transferred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary due to ‘complications arising during surgical intervention’ but none had been escalated to a ‘serious incident’.

On further investigation, CQC officials found that eight of the 12 incidents were ‘notifiable safety incidents’ but the provider had not investigated these as serious incidents or reported to the regulator in line with the regulations.

On the clinic’s management, inspectors said there was ‘non-compliance’ of the service to notify the regulator (Care Quality Commission) regarding serious incidents, events that stop service and police involvement in line with provider registration.

The registered manager was said to be ‘unaware of the need’ to escalate and report notifiable incidents.

Inspectors added that staff ‘did not always identify nor quickly act upon patients at risk’ of deterioration following a surgical procedure.

They also said that records of patients’ care and treatment ‘were not always fully completed, clear, or up to date’.

A BPAS Doncaster spokesman said: “BPAS has worked hard throughout the pandemic to provide essential abortion care to women around the country through our award-winning Pills by Post service and in our clinics for those who want or require in-person care.

“But as this CQC report has shown, the pressures of Covid have meant that we – as many other services – have struggled to maintain the high standards we pride ourselves on in some aspects of our clinic-based care.

“After the issues raised by the CQC during the inspection three months ago, we have worked to develop and deliver on a detailed action plan across BPAS Doncaster and the organisation as a whole.

“As part of this plan, we are reviewing our national policies, improving our documentation, reinstating clinical audits which were suspended during the pandemic, and undertaking further staff training to ensure that our service delivery always reflects best practice and policy. We will ensure that we rebuild from the pandemic with robust and resilient clinics, processes, and policies.

“We will continue to work with the CQC and CCGs in the coming months to ensure that they are satisfied with our work and the evidence-based, woman-centred care that we are committed to providing.

“We can assure our clients that we are dedicated to constant improvement of our service and to providing safe, high quality, accessible abortion care to everyone who needs it.”