New organisation to provide abortion services in Sussex

A new organisation is to provide abortion care services across Sussex from July.

Health news. Photo: Shutterstock
Health news. Photo: Shutterstock

MSI Reproductive Choices, formerly known as Marie Stopes International, was awarded the contract for sexual health and abortion care following a procurement process.

It will opening a new medical and surgical clinic in Brighton and three new clinics in Crawley, Hastings and Bognor Regis. The exact locations of the clinics have not yet been announced.

Up until now, services in Sussex had been provided by The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which operated from Wistons Clinic in Dyke Road, Brighton, and satellite services in Bognor Regis and Eastbourne.

MSI Reproductive Choices said the new contract was designed to improve the quality of services provided, increase accessibility and make access more equitable for people living in all parts of Sussex.

Commissioned by NHS Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), its new clinics will offer face to face appointments.

Surgical abortions will be carried out at the clinic in Brighton.

People will be able to access a full range of contraception methods through the services, as well as STI screening for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and HIV.

Meanwhile MSI’s award-winning telemedicine service will enable eligible patients to receive consultations over the phone or video call and be supported to have care at home.

MSI’s 24/7 helpline One Call (0345 300 8090) provides advice and consultations, with same day appointments available.

An online chat service allows patients to consult quickly, confidentially and safely without the need to ring.

Unlimited counselling with independent counsellors registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy is also available.

Richard Bentley, MSI Reproductive Choices’ UK managing director said: “Choice is fundamental to everything we do, and our new clinics and telemedicine service mean that people in Sussex will be able to access timely, compassionate abortion care and advice, without the added stress and difficulties of organising travel further afield, reducing waiting times and expanding choice.

“Anyone who prefers or needs surgical abortion will also have access to MSI’s state of the art centre in Brighton.”

Dr Elizabeth Gill, Chief Medical Officer for Sussex Commissioners said: “We are really pleased to announce this new contract and our work with MSI Reproductive Choices to provide this specialised care for people in Sussex.

“Patient care is at the heart of all we do, and MSI Reproductive Choices are committed to providing care closer to home for people with their clinics across Sussex and to providing phone and online access for those who need it.

“This will offer people the choice of how they wish to access this vital care, so it can suit their individual needs.”

Its building in Dyke Road is currently up for sale, with a starting price of £3m.

A spokesman said: “BPAS are sorry to confirm that our premises in Brighton will be closing this summer.

“The Termination of Pregnancy Service was placed out to tender in 2020 by Brighton & Hove CCG, and BPAS was unsuccessful in its bid to retain this contract.

“Wiston’s clinic was one of BPAS’ first, opened more than 40 years ago, when all of our clients needed bed-rest following an abortion.

“With the many changes in the way abortion is now delivered and the introduction of telemedical care for Early Medical Abortion during the pandemic, the number of surgical treatments has reduced significantly, along with the type and length of anaesthetic.

“Because of these changes, it had always been our intention to relocate the surgical service to more suitable premises in Brighton, but having been unsuccessful in our bid, the clinic has been put on the market for sale.

“BPAS will continue to offer services from its Dyke Road location until the end of June.”