In response to detailed enquiries about the information provided in answer to previous parliamentary questions on the cost of providing abortions in the NHS in England the Department has concluded that it should change the methodology it uses to produce estimates of the costs of abortions.
There are discrepancies between the activity figures for abortion returned to the chief medical officer and the data submitted as part of the reference cost collection, which is the Department’s wider collection of NHS cost and activity data. As a result of this, and the lack of detailed information about the price NHS organisations pay to independent sector providers for the provision of abortion, we will, in future, estimate the costs to the NHS of providing abortion using the activity figures provided to the chief medical officer and an average of the national tariff paid within the NHS for procedures including abortion. This is likely to overestimate total costs as we are aware that contracts with independent sector providers are generally at a lower price than the national tariff.
The table below shows the data used to produce previous estimates of abortion costs and the revised approach:
2009-10 financial year
Activity: 2010 calendar year
Tariff: 2010-11 financial year
Reference cost collection4,5,6
CMO abortion statistics6,7
Payments by Results Tariff
Unit Cost (£)
Total cost (£m)
Total cost (£m)
2NHS funded but delivered by independent sector provider
3The totals may not sum due to rounding
4Published on the Department’s website—
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_123459. The NHS data are from the “NHS trust and PCT combined reference cost schedules”. The independent data are from “Non NHS provider schedules”. The following HRGs have been included—MA17C, MA17D, MA18D, MA19B AND MA20Z.
5Not all spontaneous abortions are included (HRG MB08Z)
7The 2010-11 Combined Daycase/Elective and Non-Elective Tariffs have been used.