OBJECTIVE--To obtain a national consensus view of suggested criteria for good quality care in induced abortion to serve as a basis for standards for audit to assess current clinical practice. DESIGN--Postal, questionnaire survey assessing consensus agreement with criteria identified from a literature review and refined by an invited panel of four gynaecologists and the gynaecology audit project in Scotland (GAPS) committee. SETTING--Scotland. SUBJECTS--All 132 practising consultant gynaecologists. MAIN MEASURES--Overall level of agreement with each of 20 suggested audit criteria. RESULTS--121 completed questionnaires were received (response rate 92%), of which 119 were returned in time for analysis; 107 came from consultants who practised abortion routinely and were included in the analysis. Nineteen of 20 suggested criteria were validated by an overall balance of agreement. The most strongly supported criterion (agreement score +93) was for ascertaining rhesus status of the woman and prophylaxis after abortion, if indicated. The only criterion to elicit a negative agreement score (-27) was that dilatation and evacuation is the best method of abortion at 12-15 weeks' gestation. The ranked and prioritised criteria resulting from this exercise are being used within a national audit project. CONCLUSIONS--A postal questionnaire survey among interested clinicians resulted in a good response rate and enabled the audit criteria to be validated and ranked more objectively and among more clinicians, than would have been possible by group discussion.
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