Marie Stopes abortion practices 'put women at risk'

Health watchdog releases damning report accusing clinics of a litany of 'serious concerns'


Patients at Marie Stopes International (MSI), one of the UK's main abortion providers, have been subjected to a catalogue of unprofessional and dangerous incidents, according to a damning report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has detailed a litany of "serious concerns" about the organisation, which performs 70,000 abortions a year in the UK.

"The report found that 2,634 incidents had been recorded at MSI locations between 2015 and 2016 - a rise of 704 from the previous year," the BBC reports, adding that the organisation had offered only a "limited" explanation for the dramatic rise.

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Incidents included foetal tissue being found in an open hazardous waste bin in one clinic in Norwich, while clinicians at the same centre were witnessed rubber-stamping abortions, signing off as many as 60 authorisation forms without adequate scrutiny.

In another, GQC inspectors "were forced to intervene" when they witnessed an abortion being arranged for a "distressed" woman with learning disabilities who had not been given enough information to give informed consent, the Daily Telegraph reports.

An inspection of MSI's headquarters identified "poor risk management, insufficient monitoring of consent and limited clinical oversight of the charity's 60 clinics", adds the paper.

The watchdog initially raised its concerns in August, leading to some procedures being suspended for seven weeks. The full service was allowed to resume in October.

Suzanne Ash, the interim managing director at Marie Stopes UK, told The Guardian the organisation had "worked hard with the CQC to regain compliance".

She added: "Since the inspections, we've made considerable changes to our management, governance and assurance processes, including extensive training of staff, and updating of policies," she said.

Professor Edward Baker, the deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, acknowledged that MSI has made progress, but said the commission would "not hesitate to take further action" if their concerns were not addressed.

He said: "We will continue to monitor its services very closely and our planned re-inspections will determine exactly how embedded these improvements have been."

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