An abortion clinic in east Twickenham has potentially put women at risk, according to a new report.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) centre, in Rosslyn Road, must ensure its staff follow hospital transfer protocols in future, according to Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors who visited the clinic in July.

When serious incident investigations were carried out, hospital staff said they were "not always involved at an early enough stage".

NHS staff were also "not assured that staff routinely reported all minor and non-clinical incidents" which could also cause harm.

The report also raised concerns over the presence of anti-abortion protestors outside the clinic "almost every day" and said women were warned about it when booking appointments.

It found: "Women were warned about this when booking appointments, and BPAS offered a feedback form specifically for women to comment on the protestors if they wished.

"Police had been called on occasions to support the women and their partners."

Other key areas for improvement highlighted in the report included:

  • BPAS Richmond must stop using propofol (a hypnotic drug used to induce anaesthetic) from vials intended for just one use.
  • Review safeguarding policies regularly to ensure they reflect all up-to-date guidance, including on the sexual exploitation of children and young people and risks of female genital mutilation.
  • Review the policy on disposal of pregnancy remains following pregnancy loss or termination.
  • Ensure all incidents, including those with a potential to cause harm to women or staff, even when no harm occurred, are reported and staff receive prompt feedback to reduce the risk of recurrence of incidents.
  • Ensure women who require counselling with specific expertise are referred clearly if the staff are not available at the clinic.

The CQC report did find that the clinic was "generally clean and well maintained" and that the culture within the service was "caring, non-judgemental and supportive to women".

However, inspectors concluded that "a clique of staff who had worked together for a long time were not always supportive to new staff".

A BPAS spokesman said steps have already been taken to address areas requiring improvement but criticised the protestors for standing directly outside the building.

They said: "Many local residents have been engaged in ongoing efforts to find a resolution to this problem which we know affects not just the women needing to use the clinic but also the immediate community.

"For the small number of people opposed to women's access to abortion, there are plenty of spaces and places to campaign to change the law.

"The area directly outside a clinic should not be one of them."

The spokesman added that the report highlights that its patients receive compassionate care, are treated with dignity and are given the support they need to make decisions about their pregnancy.

Twickenham MP Tania Mathias said: "I am extremely concerned by the report from Professor Sir Mike Richards, particularly the point he makes about serious incidents in which protocols for transfer to hospitals were not followed.

"I have said to BPAS representatives at a local meeting with residents that I have misgivings about the clinic’s site in a residential street, not close to a major accident and emergency unit.

"I hope that BPAS can act on the report's recommendations immediately."

Richmond Council said it was aware of the report and will work with the clinic to address areas that require improvement.