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IVF: Standards

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL5823, tabled on 1 February 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the incidence of serious incidents disclosed to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, including where samples are mixed up or patient records are read incorrectly, compares to the frequency of serious incidents in other areas of medicine for which comparable records are available.

Answered on

15 February 2022

Due to the way in which data is collected on incidents by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the National Reporting and Learning Systems (NRLS), it is not possible to make a direct comparison as both sets of data are recorded by separate bodies and the incidents are not recorded in the same way.

The HFEA monitors all reported incidents in order to ensure that clinics learn from them and prevent re-occurrence. Overall, the number of incidents has remained at 0.6% per treatment cycle for the last few years. There are about 80,000 treatment cycles per year and there have been five grade A incidents, the most serious, since 2016.

NHS England and NHS Improvement operate the NRLS, which collects reports of patient safety incidents from across the National Health Service. Patient safety incidents can be reported through a variety of routes by individual NHS staff, including through local trust risk management systems and web-based e-forms, including an open access e-form. Incidents are reported voluntarily.