§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in view of the fact that the report by the St. Helens and Knowsley area health authority on the abortion incident at Whiston hospital on 4 January acknowledges that the pregnancy was terminated at 8.30 p.m. and the doctor certified that there were no signs of life at 9 p.m., what were the reasons for the time difference; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The report I have received shows that the procedures adopted immediately after the abortion of this patient followed the usual practice in a case where a pregnancy is estimated to be of 18–20 weeks' gestation. The subsequent involvement of medical staff after the abortion was a result of a826W query on the part of junior nurses that signs of life might exist. The medical examination showed that the foetus was not capable of an independent existence and I am advised that there can be no possibility that a different conclusion would have been reached at the time of the abortion. I also refer the hon. Member to the detailed replies I have already given to his earlier questions on 25 May. 2 July and 6 July.