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Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretay of State for Health what instructions or advice his Department has issued to National Health Service hospitals concerning abortions after the 24th week of gestation.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 22 March at column 730.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many notifications of abortions from 1989 have been received by the chief medical officer of the Department of Health six months or later after the abortion took place;(2) what action his Department takes in cases where notifications of abortions are received by the chief medical officer later than the time specified by abortion regulations.

The provisional data available suggest that in 1989 a total of 323 notifications were received six months or more after the month of termination. All notification forms are scrutinised by staff authorised by the chief medical officer. Where the forms received appear clearly to have been sent later than the period specified in the regulations, without a reasonable explanation, the matter may be taken up with the doctor concerned.