NHS is in the centre of controversy again, as 14 NHS hospitals have been censured as they were found guilty of conducting illegal abortions, with NHS trusts forging certificates and doctors pre-signing consent forms without seeing patients.
After The Telegraph revealed that throughout the country illegal abortions, on the basis of the sex of a foetus, were taking place, 249 inspection reports were carried out by The Care Quality Commission. Even CQC was ordered by the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to carry out unannounced inspections focusing on whether doctors were “pre-signing” abortion certificates.
CQC identified clear evidence of pre-signing at 14 locations. Where no evidence of “pre-signing” was identified, irregularities with the consistency and completeness of assessment were found. In March, Lansley exclaimed how “shocked and appalled” he was to learn that some clinics were allowing doctors to pre-sign abortion certificates.
He said, “Because if it happens, it is pretty much people engaging in a culture of both ignoring the law and trying to give themselves the right to say that although Parliament may have said this, we believe in abortion on demand.”
Lansley warned, “There is the risk that women don’t get the appropriate level of pre-abortion support and counselling because, if your attitude is that, ‘You’ve arrived for an abortion and you should have one,’ well actually many women don’t get the degree of support they should,”
At Hereford Hospital, inspectors studied medical records for 20 people who had undergone abortion at the hospital and found that in ten of the patient records followed procedures had been incorrect. Also, fraudery seemed clear as in nine cases the first signature on the certificate appeared to be photocopy as it was black and was exactly the same as the signature on eight other certificates.
The inspectors informed, “We found that the name of both of the doctors, their signatures and the reason for the termination had been completed on the HSA1 forms and these forms had been photocopied in advance of women attending the hospital.”