In 2021/22, the twelve months ending March 2022, BPAS performed 93,136 abortions, an increase of 18% over the total in 2017/18, a period in which the total number of abortions in England and Wales increased by 11%. BPAS continues to expand its share of the UK abortion market, providing about 43% of the total in 2021.
In the last three years there has been a notable increase in the number of early medical abortions (EMA); 80,201 in 2021/22, a 30% increase over 2019/20. 86% of all abortions performed by BPAS are now EMA.
Whilst there has been an underlying global trend towards a greater proportion of abortion by medication, there’s little doubt that this has accelerated here in the UK over the last two years, 2020/22, due to the change in legislation permitting medical abortion at home (pills-by-post).
BPAS notes in its most recent annual report, 2021/22, a total of 111,878 telemedicine consultations, compared with just 5,610 face-to-face ‘conversations’ (its own interesting choice of word). 95% of BPAS’s contact with its clients is now by telephone only; it reports receiving an average of 956 calls per day and answering an average of 730 (76%).
BPAS states that 99% of its fee income is gained from payments for abortions through its contracts with the NHS. In 21/22, BPAS received a total fee income of £39m, a 28% increase on the same income five years earlier. The annual fee income from BPAS’s core service, abortion, has increased faster than the number of abortions performed, an indication of an increase in the average price paid per abortion.
BPAS does not report the average fee per abortion, but this can be estimated by dividing the total fee income by the total number of abortions performed. In 2017/18 this was ~£390 and in 21/22 the same calculation shows a fee per abortion of ~£420.
Its core service, abortion, has increased in both annual numbers performed and in the average fee paid, and yet over the last five years BPAS has made a loss of £4.3m (Income – Expenditure). This has been mitigated by spending some of its reserves, which have dropped 14% from ~£14m in 17/18 to £12m in 21/22.
The reports indicate that some of these losses can be attributed to the failed BPAS Fertility initiative, that it has now sold.
BPAS has increased its staff headcount from a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 399 in 17/18 to 574 in 21/22, a 44% increase. Over the same period the average remuneration per FTE increased by 10% to £45,000 pa. Some of these increases are attributed to the change in operations brought in by telemedicine and necessary remedial changes resulting from issues raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the summer of 2021.
BPAS’s data were extracted from its Annual Reports submitted to the Charity Commission.
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