Abortions in England cost the NHS £118 million last year, according to new Government estimates – a figure much higher than previously thought.
The statistics, released by the Department of Health, show that the NHS funded 173,000 abortions in England last year.
They also indicate that significantly more NHS-funded abortions were carried out by independent providers than was earlier believed.
Health Secretary Anne Milton revealed the figures following concern in the House of Lords about the true financial cost to the NHS of abortion.
She outlined a new method which the Department will now use for calculating abortion spending. One minister had admitted the previous method was “less reliable”.
Of the 173,000 abortions funded by the NHS in England last year, over 100,000 were carried out by independent providers. The Department had previously believed this figure to be 18,000.
The number carried out within the NHS is now put at 64,000, having previously been thought to be 118,000.
The new calculations estimate the total cost to the NHS of abortions last year at £118m – up from the previously calculated figure of £90m.
Crossbench Peer Lord Alton said he had written to the Government’s Health Minister in the Lords, “setting out a number of concerns about how Parliament came to be so very badly misled about the costs to the NHS associated with abortion”.
Under the new system all abortions are assumed to cost £680, which is higher than estimates used in the past.
Anne Milton said the new calculations are “likely to overestimate total costs as we are aware that contracts with independent sector providers are generally at a lower price than the national tariff”.