Marie Stopes International CQC Inspection and Suspension of Services: Information for FSRH Members

Posted 26 August 2016

Date: 26 Aug 2016

Type: FSRH News and Information

On Friday 19th August Marie Stopes International (MSI) voluntarily suspended some of its abortion services in agreement with the CQC. Following a whole system inspection, the CQC raised concerns about MSI’s clinical and corporate governance.

Whilst the full details of their findings are not known, we do know that the CQC became concerned about a number of issues, including unfilled posts, the training and supervision of Health Care Assistants responsible for taking consent and ultrasound, as well as MSI’s anaesthetic policy and medicines management. The CQC are aiming to publish their full report in the autumn.

NHS England has confirmed it is helping women to find alternative abortion providers during this period to ensure that women are able to access counselling and treatment.

Impact on healthcare professionals and patients
Please see below for more information about how the suspension of MSI services will affect referrals to abortion services.

We use MSI as our sole abortion provider. How will this affect the women in our care?
If MSI is your sole local provider, any GP or local pathway referrals will be directed by the MSI call-centre into an appropriate BPAS pathway – this helpline will assess what procedures are appropriate at what gestation.

BPAS have increased the number of counselling, contact and treatment appointments. This does mean that there may be small additional waits and travel for women as capacity is managed. BPAS are, however, prioritising later gestation.

BPAS clinics have been inspected by CQC and no significant concerns have been raised. Read BPAS’ statement on current service provision following the suspension of MSI services here.

We use multiple/other abortion providers. How will this affect the women in our care?
If you use several abortion providers in your area (e.g.MSI, BPAS, NHS, NUPAS), there should be minimal impact. Waiting times may increase as other providers take on extra work to cover the reduction in MSI services. Some NHS hospitals have opened extra operating lists to help manage demand and NUPAS have also agreed to take on patients.

Where can we contact for more information?
As a healthcare professional, if you have any enquiries as to how the suspension of MSI services will affect your area you should contact your local Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR) team.

There is also a Public Health England confidential help line that has been set up for women with concerns or questions. For UK residents: 0300 123 1041 (9am to 5pm at weekends and 9am to 8pm during the week) and residents of the Republic of Ireland 1800 882 677.

Any requests from the media should be directed to the NHS England national press office at 0113 825 0958 or 07768 901 293 (out of hours).

FSRH Policy Team, 26th August 2016