HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc667-8W
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action his Department has taken in response to the audit of abortion services in 1999 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; and if he will make a statement. [43329]

Yvette Cooper

The audit of abortion services funded by the Department provided valuable baseline data on abortion services prior to the publication of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' (RCOG) Evidence Based GuidelineThe Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion.

The audit found good awareness of and compliance with the RCOG guidelines available at the time and the report informed the development of the our sexual health and HIV strategy, which was issued for consultation in July 2001. The strategy recommends that services should be developed in line with the Royal College's guidelines ensuring that women meeting the legal requirements for an abortion are referred without delay. In addition, we have set a target in the strategy that from 2005, commissioners should ensure that women who meet the legal requirements have access to an abortion within 3 weeks of their first appointment with their general practioner or other referring doctor.

An action plan setting out how the strategy will be implemented will be published in the spring. The audit data will help us monitor progress in improving services.

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