Health secretary Andrew Lansley ordered a £1 million investigation into whether clinics were getting abortion forms “pre‑signed”. It found only 14 had done it.
Doctors pre-signing forms is considered to be a breach of the Abortion Act. This had been alleged to be “widespread”.
Some headlines had even claimed that “one in five” clinics were breaking the law. But hardly one in twenty of the clinics that had spot checks were found to use the practice.
The findings come from an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC said Lansley’s probe had forced it to miss 580 other health inspections and divert resources away from monitoring patient care.
And it found no evidence that any women experienced “poor outcomes of care” at any of the 14 locations.
As the British Pregnancy Advisory Service points out, women seeking abortion are often assessed and supported by a team of medical staff.
It argues that “many doctors sign forms legally without personally seeing the woman”. This is not a crime.