Dec. 21, 2016, 3:54 p.m.
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MARIE STOPES INTERNATIONAL (MSI), which provides around one third of abortions in England, had to restrict some of its services after an inspection.The UK’s Care Quality Commission carried out inspections on MSI – which also provides contraception services – earlier this year, and has now published its report.The CQC said that it inspected 12 MSI locations between April and August 2016.While it identified “a number of positive factors”, it also identified “some concerns linked to the governance arrangements”.As a result, it carried out an unannounced inspection of MSI’s UK administrative offices in London in July and August.It found that MSI, which performs around 70,000 abortions a year, “did not have sufficiently effective governance arrangements across registered locations so as to be assured of the safety and quality of all of the services it provided to patients”.SuspensionIt communicated its concerns by letter and in response MSI decided to voluntarily suspend some of its services temporarily.These restrictions were:During the time that these restrictions were in place, NHS England set up a helpline and identified alternative providers to ensure there were no gaps in care.Marie Stopes International recommenced its restricted services during October 2016, “once it had reassured CQC that it had addressed the most serious concerns”.“This included Marie Stopes International carrying out staff training in key areas such as resuscitation and consent and strengthening its governance arrangements,” said the CQC.CQC continues to monitor the progress of MSI. It said it plans to inspect its centres and UK administrative offices again in the near future “to ensure that ongoing improvements are made and maintained”.Professor Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said:“On the ground, we found that feedback from patients was positive across Marie Stopes International’s centres and its staff provided a non-judgmental service and treated patients with dignity and respect.Baker said that at all times, the CQC’s priority has been to ensure that patients undergoing or seeking advice about terminations from MSI “get safe, high-quality and compassionate care”.ConcernsDuring CQC’s inspection of MSI’s UK administrative offices, CQC identified concerns, including:During CQC’s inspection of Marie Stopes International’s Norwich site – which was where all surgical terminations were then suspended for three months – CQC found that patients were positive about the care they received and felt it was individually-centred.It also found that staff were “observed to be helpful, caring and treated patients with dignity and respect”. However, CQC found that:It also said that patient flow through the centre was compromised at times, with periods of extended waiting times, causing theatre backlogs.“Clinicians were reportedly bulk-signing HSA1 forms, which meant that they did not necessarily have access to all relevant information or sufficient time to review it before authorising a termination,” said the CQC.The CQC said that it did find elements of good practice across the registered centres it inspected. For example, in Marie Stopes International’s call centre, CQC found that:Suzanne Ash, interim managing director at Marie Stopes UK said:“We have worked hard with the Care Quality Commission to regain compliance and we’re grateful to them for their assistance.”The full details of CQC’s findings are available online.