§ Mrs. Dunwoody
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the purpose of the abortion notification forms HSA1 and HSA4; whose signature is required on each of these forms; where these forms are kept and for how long; if the information kept on both forms is confidential; and why two forms are considered necessary.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Form HSA1 (Certificate of Opinion) is signed and completed by two doctors to certify that they have formed the opinions required under section 1(1) of the Abortion Act. The Abortion Regulations 1968 require the form to be preserved by the doctor performing an abortion for three years. I understand that it is normally kept with the patient's other medical records. It is subject to the full rules of medical confidentiality and has the same protection in civil law against unauthorised disclosure as other medical records.
Form HSA4 (Form of Notification) is signed and completed by the doctor performing an abortion. The Abortion Regulations 1968 require the form to be sent to the chief medical officer to notify him of the abortion and other information required by the Abortion (Amendment) Regulations 1980. The chief medical officer or staff authorised by him check these forms and pass them to the Registrar General who collates statistics from them. The forms are destroyed after three years. As required by section 2(1) of the Abortion Act and the Abortion Regulations 1968, disclosure of information on the forms is prohibited except in circumstances specified in the Abortion Regulations 1968, as amended by the Abortion (Amendment) Regulations 1976. Separate forms are considered desirable because of their different purposes and destinations.