Abortion clinics will be ‘rated’ in bid to clamp down on string of scandals


Abortion clinics and cosmetic surgery providers will be given ‘scores on the doors’ ratings to name and shame the worst performers for the first time.

New laws mean that private hospitals offering such services will be assessed – and forced to conspicuously display their rating – following a string of scandals.

Health ministers said the regulations, which come into force next month, aim to shine a light on rogue clinics and stamp out a “lottery of poor practice”.

It follows a succession of scandals at abortion clinics and among the cosmetic surgery industry.

An investigation by the Daily Telegraph in 2012 found doctors agreeing to arrange sex-selective abortions, which are illegal.

And inspections of Marie Stopes clinics by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently found 373 botched abortions carried out in two months. The abortion provider had previously been accused of major failings, after 2,600 serious incidents were reported in 2015.

Inspectors found that nurses were failing to explain to women the full consequences of their actions while doctors were “bulk signing” consent forms. The provider – the second largest in the country, carrying out 70,000 abortions a year, was warned after the vistis in 2015 that clinics could be closed down unless standards were improved. Doctors were found to be signing off up to 60 consent forms at a time, with foetal remains dumped in ordinary medical waste bins rather than sealed for cremation.

Several services were suspended but allowed to resume after improvements were made. Under new regulations, laid down in parliament yesterday,  CQC has been given new powers to rate such services.

Clinics will now be given one of four potential ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Cosmetic surgery providers are also covered by the new rules along with clinics offering laser eye surgery, and rehab treatment for substance misuse.

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