Date Published: 2 October 2009

HFEA to publish incident reports

Reports and licence committee minutes relating to serious incidents in UK fertility clinics are to be published for the first time, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has announced.

Speaking yesterday at the Authority’s annual conference, Chair of the HFEA Prof Lisa Jardine said:

" For some years now the HFEA has followed the practice of not publicising incident inspection reports. Nor have we published Licence Committee minutes relating to such reports.

There was good reason for this approach. We wanted to build trust, to assure centres that our aim was to learn and to promote higher standards, not to punish human error.

But we now have a solid foundation on which we can continue to build a culture of learning and improvement throughout the sector.

From today, the inspection reports for all grade A incidents that are reported from now on, will be published on our website. So will the associated Licence Committee reports. This is part of our drive to ensure greater transparency in our work as a regulator. Since December last year, we have introduced a series of measures designed to make more of our work accessible on our website. This is the logical next step.”

Incidents are graded A, B or C according to the likelihood of a recurrence, and the severity of the potential outcome(s) by a multi-disciplinary team which usually includes the inspector for the clinic. Near misses are also recorded.

Grade A incidents are the most serious covering events such as embryo mix ups, the death of a patient or an incident which affects a number of patients, for example, when a storage unit malfunctions.

Incident reports will not be published retrospectively.


Source: Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA), UK.

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