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Abortions

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received about the decision of Brent health authority to put its requirements for abortion services out to competitive tender;(2) if he will make a statement about his policy in relation to the scope for and the applicability of competitive tendering for abortion services;(3) if he will list the health authorities known to his Department to have contracted out their abortion services giving in each case the organisation and the clinic providing the service and the cost to the health authority;(4) if he will list the health authorities known to his Department to have engaged in competitive tendering exercises for their abortion services;(5) if he will give for each year since 1979 the total National Health Service expenditure on abortion services provided

(a) in-house, (b) through charitable organisations and (c) through commercial organisations.

The statistical information requested is not available, since health authorities are not required to report on contractual arrangements they may make about clinical services with the private or voluntary sectors, and their accounts as submitted to the Department do not show separately the amount spent on abortions.I understand that Brent health authority already has an arrangement whereby some abortions are undertaken on an agency basis by a private nursing home approved for this purpose under the 1967 Abortion Act. It has now invited tenders for such an arrangement. I am not aware of any representations about the matter.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give for each year since 1979 the total number of abortions on the National Health Service provided (a) in-house, (b) through charitable organisations and (c) through commercial organisations.