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Abortion: Drugs

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 45956, tabled on 12 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how his Department plans to record any complications that result from at-home abortions; and whether the NHS will be required to report on the number of women that are admitted to hospital for complications after being prescribed (a) Mifepristone and (b) Misoprostol by telephone, video conference or other electronic means.

Answered on

27 May 2020

The Department is carefully monitoring the impact of home use of the administration of abortion medication which has been introduced as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complications are recorded on the HSA4 abortion notification form sent to the Chief Medical Officer. In addition, there is a statutory requirement for providers to notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in cases of serious injury. Providers should be reporting and escalating issues to the CQC, who will follow up directly with the provider as required. Patients presenting in a National Health Service setting unexpectedly, due to complications, should be highlighted to the relevant independent health provider and all cases should be reported on the Strategic Executive Information System. The CQC engages regularly with the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement on these matters.

The Required Standard Operating Procedures set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy require that all providers should have in place a formal risk management system and keep a risk register to identify and minimise any risks to patients and staff.