A NORTH EAST abortion clinic has been rated ‘inadequate’ after inspectors found medicines were not stored safely and systems to protect people from abuse were not 'effective'.

Middlesbrough-based British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) situated on Linthorpe Road, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission on August 4.

The service, which had previously not been rated, undertakes pregnancy terminations, family planning services and screening procedures.

The report said: “The service did not always operate effective safeguarding processes and systems to protect people from abuse.

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“Staff did not always document risk assessments. They were not carried out comprehensively and did not remove or minimise every key risk.

“The service did not operate effective systems and processes to store medicines at safe temperatures, label medicines appropriately or check stock levels.”

However, the report went on to say: “The service provided mandatory training in key skills to all staff and made sure everyone completed it. Staff received training on how to recognise and report abuse.

“Staff kept clear and up to date records of patients care and treatment.

“All those responsible for delivering care worked together as a team to benefit patients. They supported each other to provide good care and communicated effectively with each other.”

A BPAS spokesperson said: ““BPAS has worked hard throughout the pandemic to provide essential abortion care to women around the country through our award-winning Pills by Post service and in our clinics for those who want or require in-person care.

“But as this CQC report shows, the pressures of Covid-19 have meant that we – as many other services – have struggled to maintain the high standards we pride ourselves on in some aspects of our clinic-based care. Following the issues raised by the CQC during this inspection three months ago, we have worked to develop and deliver on a detailed action plan for the Middlesbrough clinic and the organisation as a whole.

“As part of this plan, we are reviewing our national policies, improving our documentation, reinstating clinical audits which were suspended during the pandemic, and undertaking further staff training to ensure that our service delivery always reflects best practice and policy. We will ensure that we rebuild from the pandemic with robust and resilient clinics, processes, and policies.

“We will continue to work with the CQC and the local CCG in the coming months to ensure that they are satisfied with our work and the evidence-based, woman-centred care that we are committed to providing. And we can assure our clients that we are dedicated to constant improvement of our service and to providing safe, high quality, accessible abortion care to everyone who needs it.”

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