AN ABORTION clinic in Basingstoke has been told it needs to improve following an inspection.

BPAS (British Pregnancy Advice Service), an independent hospital at Crown Heights, in Alencon Link, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May, and a report published in July graded it as ‘requires improvement’ overall.

The clinic is run by BPAS which was established as a registered charity in 1968 to provide a safe, legal abortion service following the 1967 Abortion Act.

BPAS Basingstoke moved to Crown Heights in 2015 and carries out early medical abortions up to 10 weeks.

The CQC found:

  • BPAS did not manage emergency equipment safely
  • It did not have a “robust process” for checking emergency drug boxes to ensure they contained the necessary medicines
  • A low number of staff had completed intermediate life support training
  • Women, at times, had to wait for “long periods” to access services.

It was rated as ‘requires improvement’ for safety and being responsive to people’s needs, and ‘good’ for being effective, caring, and well-led.

Inspectors found that staff had a variety of training including how to recognise and report abuse.

The report said staff “provided good care and treatment, gave women refreshments, and gave them pain relief when they needed it”.

It added: “Staff supported patients to make informed decisions about their care and treatment.”

The CQC also found that staff “treated women with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions”.

They also provided emotional support to women.

The CQC said the termination of pregnancy service at BPAS ‘requires improvement’.

BPAS saw 598 patients between March 2021 and April 2022 for early medical abortions.

The CQC found that during this time, between 53 and 91 per cent of women were seen within seven days of consultation to treatment.

It said: “This meant that a considerable proportion of women did not receive care in a timely way.”

However, the service had been improving its targets which showed that between January to March 2022, 73 to 74 per cent of women received treatment within the timescale.

A senior manager told the CQC that they had difficulty following the pandemic in providing “urgent appointments within 48 hours due to staffing and lack of trained sonographers”.

It has taken actions to train extra sonographers and was said to be “working to resolve this issue”.

CQC inspectors found that emergency equipment and resuscitation trolley were “not managed safely and effectively”.

The emergency trolley did not contain various equipment on its content list and emergency drug boxes did not contain drugs on the list.

The CQC report said: “This could impact negatively as these drugs would not be available in an emergency. The boxes also contained medicines which were not on the service list and there were no instructions about their use and amount that may be given to women in an emergency.”

BPAS Basingstoke was asked to take various actions to improve including updating its emergency trolley content list; consider ways of checking the identities of women receiving care; and developing systems to meet the needs of women in a “timely manner”.

A BPAS spokesperson 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.

“The pressures of Covid-19 have meant that we – as many other services – struggled to maintain the high standards we pride ourselves on in some aspects of our clinic-based care during this time. As we’ve emerged from the pandemic, we have invested heavily in our clinical and quality services – and we’re seeing this pay off in Basingstoke and elsewhere.

“We were pleased to receive ratings of ‘good’ across areas including caring, well-led, and effective at our clinic in Basingstoke, and are committed to working to resolve the isolated issues raised in other areas.

"We will continue to work with the CQC in the coming months to ensure that they are satisfied with our work and the safe, high quality, accessible, woman-centred abortion care that we are committed to providing.”

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