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Compiled by Amanda Callaghan
Public Affairs Manager, BPAS
15/4/00

Abortion

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government whether the impartiality of the review committee on the recent Royal College of Gynaecology guidelines The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion is affected by the presence of seven representatives from organisations affiliated to or otherwise associated with the abortion reform lobby group Voice of Choice [sic] and whether the impartiality of the guidelines group on the recent Royal College of Gynaecology guidelines The Care of Women Requesting Abortion is affected by the presence of three representatives affiliated to or otherwise with the abortion reform lobby group Voice of Choice.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health) replied that the impartiality of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists national evidence-based clinical guideline on the care of women requesting induced abortion was ensured by its production method. The guideline was prepared using an accepted methodology based upon a thorough and systematic literature search. The recommendations were graded according to the level of evidence, using a scheme recommended by the National Health
Care Evaluation Unit at St George's Hospital, which has been commissioned by the NHS Executive to appraise such guidelines.
Written answer 4 April 2000

Audit of abortion services

Fiona Mactaggart MP asked the Secretary of State for Health 1) if he will publish the audit of NHS and independent sector abortion services carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; and if he will make a statement on the measures he proposes to take on the results of the audit. 2) when the next audit of abortion services will be carried out. Yvette Cooper MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health) replied that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will publish the final audit report later this year. This audit provides valuable data that will assist those carrying out audits locally and will also inform discussions on the sexual health strategy about future audit of services.
Written answer 7 April 2000

Implementation of evidence-based guidelines

Fiona Mactaggart MP asked the Secretary of State for Health how the evidence-based guidelines, published on 13 March, by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, on the care of women seeking abortion will be implemented.

Yvette Cooper MP replied that this new guideline will be circulated to college members. We expect the guideline to be used as the basis of local protocols which are designed to promote the development of high quality services and take account of local needs and service provision. In addition, the guideline will be considered as part of the national sexual health strategy currently being developed.
Written answer 12 April 2000

Emergency Contraception

'Morning after pill'

David Amess MP asked the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the pilot scheme on the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone, for provision of the morning-after pill, with the preconditions laid down in Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech area health authority.

Yvette Cooper MP replied that any young woman under 16, seeking emergency contraception without parental knowledge or consent from one of the pharmacists operating in the pilot must be assessed by the pharmacist in relation to the criteria set out in the Gillick judgement. This covers the young persons understanding, maturity and their best interests including physical and mental health. It is for the pharmacist to use his or her judgement as to whether the criteria are satisfied. If necessary, the pharmacist can seek further advice from a doctor and refer the young person on to the specialist contraceptive services.

David Amess MP further asked what assessment has been made of the pilot scheme in the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone under which pharmacists provide the morning-after pill to girls under 16 years.

Yvette Cooper MP replied that this scheme is being closely monitored by the Project Steering Group, Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Authorities along with the Health Action Zone. The North West Regional Office of the National Health Service Executive is being kept fully informed of developments. In total there are 16 community pharmacies currently participating in this scheme. Nine are from Manchester and the remaining six are from Salford and Trafford.
Written answer 10 April 2000

 
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