Marie Stopes International clinics have suspended all surgical abortions using anesthetic or sedation after last month’s surprise inspection of their corporate headquarters in England, followed by another inspection on Friday of their call center.
The investigation by the Care Quality Commission hasn’t been published in full, but according to the BBC, immediate measures include suspension of abortion services for women under 18 and “vulnerable groups of women,” suspension of terminations under general anesthetic or conscious sedation, and suspension of all surgical terminations at Marie Stopes’ Norwich center.
Marie Stopes serves around 250 women a week, and it’s unclear when these particular services with be available again. Concerns after the inspection were largely over the training for administering sedation, but also more vaguely “specific immediate concerns”about “consent and safeguarding.”
The Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC, Professor Edward Baker, said in a statement:
“Given the nature of the concerns we identified on our inspections, it is right that Marie Stopes International has suspended a number of its services.
“At all times, our priority is to ensure that patients get safe, high-quality and compassionate care. We believe that the action taken is appropriate to address our concerns.
“We will continue to monitor these services very closely and we will not hesitate to take further action, if needed.
“We will report fully and publicly on our inspection findings as soon as our regulatory process has concluded and we are able to do so.”
Marie Stopes’ Simon Cooke, who is in charge of abortion services, says that he is working with the CQC to find alternative arrangements for women with scheduled clinic appointments as quickly as possible, adding that they hope to be available for surgical procedures again shortly, “We are working urgently with the CQC on these areas and intend to regain full assurance within a few days.”
Marie Stopes remains open for all other services, which they say cater to over 70,000 women annually.