Abortion notifications and data: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to a public consultation on the proposed changes to the requirements around statutory notifications of abortions in Scotland which must be sent to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Summary of responses

32. Overall, responses to the consultation were in favour of the proposed changes, with the greatest support for enabling electronic submission of notifications (91%), followed by permitting a period longer than seven days in which to do so (79% of those who answered the question) and enabling data to be provided directly to PHS (73% of those who answered the question). There was more of a split in relation to perceived impacts on privacy of personal data about patients and staff, with 45% suggesting that there would be an impact and 34% suggesting there would not.

33. Overall, comments in support of the specific proposals mainly focused on the benefits in terms of streamlining processes, providing increased flexibility and increased data privacy. The future data requirements was a key area of focus for those who caveated their support for the proposals, including the need to ensure transparency about data requirements and the opportunities for increased/improved data collection. Responses also focused on the practicalities of moving from one system to another and the need to ensure synchronisation and no data loss as a result.

34. The comments provided in response to question one highlighted the potential for electronic notification to increase accuracy, speed and efficiency in reporting; the potential for a positive impact on the handling of sensitive data and a reduction in the burden on administrative staff and chance of human error.

35. The comments provided in relation to question two highlighted the greater flexibility which would be afforded with a longer time period in which to submit notifications and the potential for it to enable more comprehensive data to be collected in relation to complications. While there was no clear majority in favour of any particular deadline for doctors to submit notifications to CMO, the option of providing notifications within one month of the termination was the most popular among respondents.

36. The comments provided in respect of question three highlighted the benefit in terms of privacy of data being provided directly to PHS, rather than via the CMO, and the need to coordinate the processes to ensure no gap in data supply.

37. The comments provided in response to question four highlighted the potential positive impact on data privacy, highlighted the need for secure data transfer and for a simple system for data transfer to avoid increased workload for providers.


Email: AbortionConsultation@gov.scot

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