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Nearly 1,000 abortions per year carried out in GP surgeries

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: The number of abortions performed in GP surgeries has more than doubled, with nearly a thousand abortions carried out in general practice annually.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service told Pulse 900 early medical abortions had been performed at their clinics, run in GP surgeries, in the last year.

The number of medical abortions performed has accelerated since September 2009, when Pulse revealed 400 abortions had been carried out between August 2008 and July 2009.

It came as the Welsh Government made the morning after pill available to women without charge at pharmacies, including to some young girls under 16.

The abortions were performed in three GP premises in Wolverhampton, Basingstoke and Newcastle.

BPAS also told Pulse they have begun offering early medical abortions in a fourth GP practice, in High Wycombe.

A spokesperson for NHS Buckinghamshire, which commissions the High Wycombe service, said: ‘This service is commissioned by NHS Buckinghamshire, who acts as lead commissioner for the contract which also covers NHS Milton Keynes and NHS Oxfordshire.

‘BPAS provides pregnancy consultations and terminations for NHS patients in line with national legislation, with the service being free at the point of access for residents of the consortium PCTs in line with the provision of NHS services. The provision of EMA in a GP surgery premises has only been available since Feb 2011, following inspection by the CQC and a licence being granted by government.

But BPAS confirmed GPs will not be responsible for commissioning abortion services – as sexual health services will be classes as public health services and will be commissioned by local authorities in future.

Nearly 1,000 abortions per year carried out in GP surgeries