Why we are consulting
1. All abortions (sometimes referred to as terminations of pregnancy) in Scotland must be notified to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) by the doctor who carried out the abortion, within seven days of the abortion taking place. At the moment, these notifications must be completed on a paper form and sent or delivered to the CMO. The form also requires certain information to be provided about the abortion carried out. The CMO’s office then deliver the notification forms to Public Health Scotland (PHS), which uses the information in the form to prepare the abortion statistics.
2. The Scottish Government proposes that the existing legislation should be amended to enable the notification of an abortion to be sent electronically in future. This consultation also proposes changes to the content of the notification itself. The proposals would mean that providers would only provide a simple notification confirming that an abortion had been carried out to the CMO so would no longer need to submit the yellow notification forms. Further details of the abortion would be submitted directly to PHS via secure electronic means, to allow them to produce abortion statistics.
What this consultation covers
3. This consultation looks at how notifications and additional information about abortions in Scotland should be provided to ensure transmission is both secure and efficient. It considers this in respect of a new process involving two separate stages, where electronic submissions will be made to the CMO and PHS separately. It also considers the timescales within which abortion providers must return notifications to the CMO.
4. The consultation does not seek views on either how abortion services are delivered or the wider legal framework governing abortions in Scotland. Any comments in responses on these wider matters cannot be considered as part of this consultation. It also does not seek views on the information which should be included in data returns to PHS, as PHS will decide that separately in discussion with Scottish abortion providers.