Termination of Pregnancy

Healthwatch Kirklees was approached by North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group to complete some engagement work with people who have used Termination of Pregnancy Services (TOPS) to find out what they thought of the way that the services were provided. Our report represents a ‘snapshot’ of opinion from people accessing TOPS during a period of a couple of weeks and from some professionals who are involved in providing TOPS. During June 2014, contact was made with professionals working for Locala and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), who are the predominant providers of TOP services for North Kirklees. Patients using both of these service providers over the last 2 weeks of June were asked to complete feedback surveys sharing their views on how the service works.

Through this engagement, Healthwatch Kirklees has identified 3 key learning points that commissioners should consider when reviewing the service provision.

These key learning points are:

1. Many patients would like to access both the TOP consultation and procedure in their local area Although consultation can be accessed in North Kirklees, women have to travel to Leeds, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Halifax or further for the procedure. 13 of the 15 patients surveyed stated that they would have liked to access all parts of the service in North Kirklees, and 13 out of 14 said they would like the services to be provided in the same building. Professionals reported that some patients requested to have the procedure take place at Dewsbury and District Hospital, and were frustrated not to be able to access it there. They also stated that they felt, as a minimum, the early medical abortion (available up to 9 weeks) should be available in North Kirklees.

2. Patients and professionals say it is crucial that there is a choice of where they go for their appointments, the type of procedure they have, and where possible, the time and date that it happens For women in North Kirklees, there are several options available for accessing TOP services. However, quite often options are restricted by what procedures are provided at each location. Of those surveyed, 87% stated that they had a choice as to where to go, and all but one of those respondents stated that they were glad they had been given a choice. Professionals are concerned that there are some factors that restrict and govern the choices made by women using the service, in particular travel concerns and costs to services based out of area. There may be personal reasons why a woman may not want to access a particular service (e.g. she has used the service before, she’s concerned Termination of Pregnancy Services in North Kirklees Healthwatch Kirklees June 20144 that someone may see her entering the service) and it is important that alternatives are available.

3. Professionals have expressed concern that TOP services may not always be accessible for people with complex social needs The most vulnerable people in North Kirklees have the same access and choice as everyone else, but the barriers they face may result in some people not being able to attend appointments. Sometimes this can be because the person doesn’t have the ability to pay for travel costs upfront. Bpas & UPAC have told us they can fund travel and accommodation in some circumstances but it is unclear how consistent and accessible this funding is.

To view the full report please click below: