Choose a country

Latin America
North America
West Asia and Middle East

Contact details

Find country

Media statement and fact check: Daily Mail on Marie Stopes UK

Sunday 05 March 2017 Marie Stopes UK Press release UK

Share this publication

Media statement

Paul McPartlan, Managing Director at Marie Stopes UK, said:

“We do not agree with the conclusions this journalist has reached, which give a seriously misleading view of how our services operate. No reporter in this investigation went through the legal admission process that women must go through before receiving an abortion, so their claims are based on a partial view of the process.

“Following last year’s CQC inspections of our services, we took the concerns raised very seriously. Since then, we have worked extensively to address these concerns and make ongoing improvements. We continue to work closely with the CQC, who are monitoring our clinics and head office to ensure the improvements we have made meet their expectations and are being embedded.

“The process by which women access our services adheres fully to the Abortion Act and the Department of Health’s Required Standard Operating Procedures and is monitored by the Department of Health and CQC. No abortion is carried out in our clinics unless two doctors are satisfied that the legal requirements have been fulfilled, the woman has understood her treatment and consented to the procedure during a face to face appointment with a registered nurse, and there are no medical reasons why it shouldn’t proceed.

“The CQC rightly praised our helpline, which is the first point of contact for the thousands of women who rely on our services each year. To suggest that our helpline staff are not appropriately trained to do their jobs is both incorrect, and contradicted by CQC’s own report into the service.

“We are proud of the improvements we’ve made since our CQC inspections last year, and we recognise that there will always be more to do. However, irresponsible journalism like this needlessly worries women in need of abortion services, and undermines the efforts of organisations like ours to deliver a high-quality service. We have sought legal advice and will be exploring appropriate legal action.”

Fact check

  • The claim that the decision to provide an abortion is based on a discussion lasting just 22 seconds is deliberately misleading. The discussion referred to was part of a 16 minute booking call, which was very thorough. The reporter then had a separate pre-assessment consultation with a healthcare assistant over the telephone, and a face-to-face appointment with a nurse.
  • Our helpline teams book appointments and conduct pre-assessment consultations over the phone, which are an information-gathering exercise. They do not take consent for the procedure or ever initiate the legal requirements. They do ascertain the reason why the woman wants to terminate a pregnancy and this is passed to the clinic to inform the face-to-face consultation with a registered nurse. During that appointment, the nurse performs medical checks and begins the legal admission process.
  • Women don’t recite the exact wording of the legislation when asked why they want to terminate a pregnancy, and to expect them to do so would be unreasonable. Our staff are trained to assess whether the reasons given fall into one of the categories within the legislation, and if they don’t, we simply won’t proceed.
  • The process by which women access our services adheres fully to the Abortion Act and the Department of Health’s Required Standard Operating Procedures and is monitored by the Department of Health and CQC. No abortion is carried out in our clinics unless two doctors are satisfied that the legal requirements have been fulfilled, the woman has understood her treatment and consented to the procedure during a face to face appointment with a registered nurse, and there are no medical reasons why it shouldn’t proceed.
  • The CQC rightly praised our helpline, which is the first point of contact for the thousands of women who rely on our services each year. To suggest that our helpline staff are not appropriately trained to do their jobs is both incorrect, and contradicted by CQC’s own report into the service.
  • Marie Stopes UK took the CQC’s concerns extremely seriously, and we have worked extensively to address them and make ongoing improvements.
  • All of the issues raised by the CQC are being addressed by our ongoing improvement plan. We are working closely with the CQC, who continue to monitor our clinics and head office to ensure the improvements we have made meet their expectations and are being embedded.
  • The claim that records have been falsified is categorically untrue. In the telephone consultation, the reporter gave her reason for seeking an abortion, and this was interpreted by our staff and placed into a category according to the legislation. This is standard practice. The reporter subsequently attended a face-to-face appointment with a nurse, which was halted before the legal admission process began due to lack of capacity. The reporter cancelled her follow up appointment.

Share this

Back to news