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BACKGROUND: In the UK Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAUs) are usually situated alongside hospital maternity and gynaecology services. In June 2018, the Oxford EPAU relocated from the John Radcliffe Hospital to a community clinic. This is to our knowledge, the UK's first community-based EPAU. This change was inspired by our patient feedback describing the co-location of the EPAU with maternity services as distressing. METHODS: Following the introduction of the community EPAU we developed a database to capture information on the patients seen in the clinic. This is a retrospective observational study of a single cohort of patients attending the clinic over an 8 month period. Data was collected from 1st July 2018 to 28th February 2019. This data included clinical, safety and patient experience outcomes. RESULTS: Two thousand nine hundred and twenty patient episodes were recorded, 1,932 were new patients. Mean waiting time to be seen in clinic was 1.3 days. When miscarriage was confirmed 48.6% chose conservative management, 19.9% chose medical management, and 31.5% chose surgical management. The mean rate of ambulance transfers to hospital was 3.1 per month. Of all patients seen in EPAU 32 had unplanned admissions, which accounted for 2.7% of all patients seen in EPAU. Patient feedback questionnaires have been consistently positive. CONCLUSION: The development of a community EPAU has improved services to allow care closer to home in an environment separate from maternity care. Our data shows that a community EPAU can deliver timely, good quality patient care, is safe, and a service valued by patients. Further research is indicated to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of community EPAUs and the long term safety and effectiveness of care.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Community care, Early pregnancy, Efficacy, Patient feedback, Pregnancy loss, Safety, Abortion, Spontaneous, Community Health Services, Databases, Factual, Female, Humans, Maternal Health Services, Patient Outcome Assessment, Patient Transfer, Pregnancy, Prenatal Care, Quality of Health Care, Retrospective Studies, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom