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Abortion

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what records he holds on the medical conditions which created the need for abortions to be performed in emergency to save the life of the mother in those cases which have arisen in each year since 1986; and how many times each such condition has been the relevant factor. (275609)

In the 17 years between 1986 and 2002, there were 59 abortions performed under section 1(4) of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, in an emergency to save the life of the pregnant woman. Numbers for each year between 2003 and 2007 were less than 10 (between nought and nine) and are suppressed, for confidentiality reasons, in line with the Office for National Statistics' guidance on the disclosure of abortion statistics (2005). No further details about the specific medical conditions can be given as total figures are less than 10 (between nought and nine) in all cases.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which Directorate in his Department has responsibility for the (a) formulation and (b) implementation of policy on (i) abortion, (ii) sexual and reproductive health and (iii) euthanasia and assisted dying; how many officials in his Department at each pay band are employed in this Directorate; what other posts in his Department each such official has held; and if he will make a statement. (275610)

The Directorate with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policy on abortion, sexual and reproductive health and euthanasia and assisted dying is the Health Improvement and Protection Directorate. It is one of the biggest in the Department and covers a wide range of policy areas including: Health and Wellbeing, Pandemic Flu, International and Public Health, Immunisation, Emergency Preparedness, Health Promotion, Analytical Services and Health, Science and Bioethics.

The whole time equivalent total of staff and their grade is:

Whole time equivalent

Senior Civil Servant (3)

1

Senior Civil Servant (2)

7

Senior Civil Servant (1)

21

Senior Civil Servant (Analyst)

1

Grade 6

34

Grade 7

55

Fast Stream

10

Senior Executive Officer

48

Higher Executive Officer

36.50

Executive Officer

41

Administrative Officer

20

Information about the career histories of individuals working in the Health Improvement and Protection Division, or elsewhere in the Department, is not held centrally and it is not our practice for such information to be retained locally by a directorate. To establish this would incur disproportionate cost.