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CQC satisfied that serious concerns responded to as Marie Stopes International begins to resume specific terminations across England

7 October 2016
  • Public

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is satisfied that Marie Stopes International has responded to the serious patient safety concerns it raised with the provider, following inspections of its clinics, call-centre and corporate headquarters for England.

Following a series of inspections, the regulator raised concerns about the provider’s corporate and clinical governance arrangements and patient safety protocols, in areas including patient consent, safeguarding and staff training.

In August, CQC required Marie Stopes International to take immediate action to address these specific concerns. In response, Marie Stopes International:

  • Suspended all termination of pregnancies for under-18s and vulnerable groups of women
  • Suspended all surgical terminations under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation
  • Suspended all surgical terminations at its Norwich centre.

At the time, NHS England activated ‘contingency arrangements’ to ensure that all patients seeking the services that had been suspended could receive safe and high-quality care. This included diverting around 250 patients a week to alternative providers and setting up a helpline for anyone with any questions or concerns.

Since August, CQC has been monitoring Marie Stopes International very closely and reviewing its progress.

Having demonstrated to CQC that it has addressed the most serious areas of concern, including staff training in the key areas identified, Marie Stopes International has begun to lift the restrictions it placed on its termination services with the intention to resume its full services across its clinics by the end of October.

CQC is continuing to review Marie Stopes International’s progress and it will not hesitate to take further action to protect patients, if necessary.

Professor Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: "Given the concerns we identified on our inspections earlier this year, Marie Stopes International’s decision to suspend the specified termination services was the right one. Having kept in close contact with the leadership of Marie Stopes International since then, I am glad that they have accepted the severity of these concerns and have taken appropriate action to address them.

"As the regulator, our priority has been and continues to be to ensure that patients receive safe, high-quality and compassionate care. We will continue to monitor Marie Stopes International closely as its termination services resume."

CQC aims to publish the full reports from its inspections later this year. Until then, the regulatory process prevents CQC from disclosing further details about its findings.

Last updated:
29 May 2017