Background This audit established a recent picture of termination of pregnancy services in Wales, UK using the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Guidelines as a baseline. The context of abortion is rapidly changing and services need to be adaptable to meet women's needs.
Methods A questionnaire survey was sent to all National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in Wales; 10 out of 13 responded.
Results In the nine Trusts performing abortions in Wales, medical abortions accounted for 57% and surgical abortions for 43%. Doctors in training were involved in six Trusts. All but one Trust complied with referral times. Five Trusts provided a dedicated clinic. Written information provided prior to abortion varied in accessibility and quality. Choice of abortion within gestation bands was limited in some Trusts with some only providing medical termination. Essential abortion aftercare was performed by Trusts, whereas follow-up and counselling were less comprehensive.
Discussion Trusts are willing to adapt to new methods of working with an increasing number of medical terminations, although this advantage was offset by a lack of choice of abortion methods offered by some Trusts. Doctors in training should be offered exposure to abortion procedures in all Trusts as this has been shown elsewhere to improve attitudes. Providing dedicated abortion clinics, quality written information and comprehensive abortion aftercare should improve compliance with the guidelines.
Conclusion Overall, in Wales there is compliance with national guidelines, although for a number of the guideline recommendations there remains room for improvement.
- national guidelines
- service provision
- termination of pregnancy
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