Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Abortion clinic checks politically motivated, media reports

Abortion Rights’ view that the inspections were politically motivated has been backed up by statements from Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and the Chair of the Care Quality Commission.

The spot checks on abortion clinics that took place over three days in March were politically motivated, the BBC and Guardian reported.

Details of the inspections were revealed after a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, who reported “such inspections would not normally be carried out on such a scale, by the CQC, which inspects hospitals, care homes, dentists and domestic care to ensure that they are meeting government required standards.” The inspection was ordered by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams wrote to the Department of Health saying the inspections had a damaging effects on their normal work.

The checks reportedly cost £1 million and mean that 580 pre-planned inspections of other facilities were cancelled.

The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, told the BBC he thought the health secretary was “chasing headlines” to divert attention from the NHS bill.

Even the chairman of the Commons’s health select committee, the Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell, criticised the decision to divert resourced towards the inspection, saying the CQC should be clearly established as an independent regulator determining its own priorities.