Termination of pregnancy

The termination of pregnancy clinic is situated within the Women’s Health Clinic, which is located behind the main maternity building, 

We pride ourselves in providing a non-judgemental approach towards supporting women with their decision regarding their pregnancy, staff in the clinic can also provide advice on contraception and sexual health.

The legal limit for termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks. However, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital we offer termination of pregnancy up to 14 weeks. An early appointment allows us to support you in making decisions and arranging treatment as soon as possible. If the pregnancy is found to be over 14 weeks we can provide you with further information, or with your permission, refer you to another termination of pregnancy service. 

Please note that in most cases treatment can be arranged to start on the same day, but there may also be circumstances where this is not possible and follow-up may be required, discussed and arranged with you.

How to book an appointment?

If you are considering a termination of pregnancy, you can self-refer to the termination of pregnancy service, for an appointment to discuss your options further, by calling Women’s Health Clinic on 0191 445 2742. The unit is staffed between 08:30am – 17:00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). 

Clinic appointments take place on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. 

On calling the unit, you will be asked about the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). You will be offered the next available appointment from an estimated 6 weeks of pregnancy, calculated from your last menstrual period. 

You may not know how many weeks pregnant you are, but an ultrasound scan will be carried out at your appointment to confirm this for you. 

How long is the appointment expected to take? 

Your appointment is expected to take approximately 45 minutes. 

We always try to adhere to your given appointment time, however, given the nature of this clinic, we would ask for your patience and understanding if we run late.

Likewise, if you are not able to make your appointment, please do let us know by calling 0191 445 2742, as we can reschedule if needed.

Please ensure that you attend for your appointment on time. If you attend late we may be unable to carry out the full appointment and you may need to be offered an alternative appointment at a later date.

What will happen at my appointment? 

You will be seen by either a specialist nurse practitioner or a consultant. 

You will have an ultrasound scan to check that the pregnancy is developing in the womb and to date the pregnancy.

The process of the scan will be explained, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions before giving your consent. 

There will be a chaperone present for all scans.

Your scan may be:

  • through the tummy (abdomen) where it is best to have a full bladder,
  • internal scan (vaginal) where it is best to have an empty bladder, which may be required for earlier stages of pregnancy.

Please attend your appointment with a full, but not uncomfortable bladder. 

You will be seen on your own throughout your appointment. You are welcome to bring another adult with you for support, however they will be asked to wait in the reception area. You should not bring children to this appointment if you have dependants, please make alternative childcare arrangements.

You will be asked some questions about your general background, medical history, menstrual history, any previous pregnancies and contraceptive history.

You will be offered the opportunity to take some vaginal swabs to screen for general bacterial infections and two sexually transmitted infections – chlamydia and gonorrhoea.  

We may also need to take some blood samples to confirm your blood group and to check if you are anaemic. 

Future contraception will be discussed during your appointment.

What treatment options are available for a termination of pregnancy at QEH?

The treatment options we can offer you will be determined by how many weeks pregnant you are. Once the pregnancy is dated from the ultrasound scan, treatment options will be thoroughly discussed in clinic to support you in making an informed decision. If you are unsure regarding your decision, you will be offered a further follow-up appointment.

Please see below for further information regarding treatment options.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy – up to 14 weeks

Medical Termination of pregnancy involves two medications, to be taken on two separate occasions 36 to 48 hours apart.

When you attend for the first part of your medical termination, you will be given a tablet to swallow- this is the point beyond which we do not recommend that you change your mind. The medical name for the tablet is ‘Mifepristone’. It works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the womb breaks down and the pregnancy cannot continue. You will be asked to remain at the hospital for 1 hour after taking the medication to make sure that you do not experience any adverse side effects, and that you do not vomit. If you do vomit within the first hour of taking Mifepristone, you may be required to take another tablet.

Prior to the first part of your treatment, an appointment will be arranged on the gynaecology ward for you to receive the second part. This is usually scheduled for 2 days after you have taken the Mifepristone. The medication used for the second part of the treatment is called ‘Misoprostol’ and is given to encourage the womb to contract and expel the pregnancy.

You may be eligible for home treatment for the second part of a medical termination of pregnancy, if you meet the below criteria:

  • The pregnancy must be less than 10 weeks 0days at the time of the second part of the medical termination of pregnancy
  • You must be 18 years of age or over
  • You must have a responsible adult at home to support you throughout the treatment
  • You  must have access to transport so that you are able to be brought back to hospital if this is clinically indicated
  • There should be no communication or language barriers known

At your appointment we will discuss further details of this treatment and any potential risks.

Surgical Termination of Pregnancy – from 7 weeks to 13 weeks 6days

Surgical termination of pregnancy is not recommended before 7 weeks of pregnancy and can be performed up to 14 weeks of pregnancy at QEH.

If you are normally fit and well, you will be admitted for one day to the surgical day unit. Rarely, you may have to stay overnight on the ward if you are not well enough to go home.

This procedure is routinely carried out while you are asleep, using a general anaesthetic. When you are asleep the doctor inserts a speculum in to the vagina. This is an instrument used during vaginal examinations, such as a cervical smear test. It allows the doctor to open the vaginal wall so the cervix (neck of the womb) can be seen. The neck of the womb (cervix) will be dilated (opened) and gentle suction will be used to remove the pregnancy from the uterus (womb).  The operation takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes.

At your appointment we will discuss further details of this procedure and the potential risks.


As a teaching hospital, we may have medical, nursing or midwifery students working alongside us in clinic. We appreciate the opportunity this provides for learning and training but we will always ask if you are happy to have the student present for your consultation or not. You are entitled to decline if you wish.