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Policy update, September 2017

This is your monthly round-up of recent national health policy developments for 14 August to 15 September.

If you have any comments or if there is anything else you would like to see in the round-up please contact us at: policy@rcog.org.uk

News/Announcements

The Welsh Government has announced that pregnant women in Wales will now be offered non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) within the antenatal screening programme in 2018. Work is already underway with the other UK nations and charities on development of health professional training and patient information around NIPT.

The Cabinet Office has announced plans which means that medical and healthcare professionals will now be able to act as witnesses to support domestic abuse survivors to apply to appear anonymously on the electoral register.

A large number of Private Members’ Bills have been presented to the House of Commons as Presentation Bills, these Bills include: Hospital (Parking Charges and Business Rates), Healthcare (Local Accountability), Ovarian Cancer (Public Awareness). Presentation Bills are lower down the queue for Private Members Bill than private member ballot bills. This means that they are less likely to be debated by MPs and therefore less likely to become law.

The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland has said in a letter to Amnesty International, that he sees no risk for criminal prosecutions for NHS employees in Northern Ireland who refer women to abortions elsewhere in the UK. This clarification follows the news in June that the Government will fund abortions from women travelling to England from Northern Ireland.

Publications

The National Audit Office (NAO) has produced a report highlighting that the cost of clinical negligence in trusts is significant and rising fast, placing increasing financial pressure on an already stretched system. By 2020, clinical negligence claims are likely to cost the NHS £3.2 billion a year and could worsen patient care.