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Role of ultrasound scanning in community contraceptive and reproductive health clinics
  1. Andrea Brockmeyer, MRCOG, MFSRH, Subspecialty Registrar and
  2. Anne Webb, MRCOG, FFSRH, Consultant
  1. Abacus Clinics for Contraception and Reproductive Health, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrea Brockmeyer, Central Abacus, Contraception and Reproductive Health Services, Citrus House, 40–46 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 5SF, UK. E-mail: andrea.brockmeyer{at}


Background The role of ultrasound scanning (USS) in the community setting of contraception and reproductive health (CRH) has not yet been clearly established. Abacus Clinics use ultrasound scans prior to referral for abortion where gestation is uncertain and for location of an intrauterine device/intrauterine system (IUD/IUS).

Objective To audit the indications for USS performed in Abacus Clinics and to determine a minimum acceptable number of annual scans for each clinician.

Methods A retrospective review of case notes was performed for a period of 3 months.

Results The majority of women (36; 64%) had a scan to determine gestation prior to referral for abortion. In 12 (21%) women the scan was performed for location of an IUD/IUS. Two (4%) women had a scan for both indications. Only six (11%) women did not comply with the indications listed above but all were related to gestation or IUD/IUS use. In 16 women the scan significantly influenced decision-making regarding referral to the appropriate abortion service provider. The number of scans performed by individual doctors varied between two and 12.

Conclusions The use of USS prevented unnecessary referrals to hospital and delays in clients' care. The number of scans each clinician performed was small and the indications for future USS were only slightly changed. The new special skills module in ultrasound developed by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare(FSRH) (formerly the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care) aims to set new standards and should improve training.

  • community settings
  • special skills module
  • training
  • ultrasound scanning

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