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New breed of fertility watchdog on way

26 July 2010
Appeared in BioNews 568

The UK's fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), could be split up as the Government's 'bonfire of the quangos' continues.

The HFEA will continue in its current form in the short-term, according to a Government review of health Arm's Length Bodies (ALBs) published today. But legislation will be introduced in this Parliament to transfer its responsibilities to a new research regulator, the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The regulator of NHS and private healthcare providers, the Care Quality Commission, may become responsible for licensing fertility clinics. Issuing ethical decisions and guidance, meanwhile, could revert to the Department of Health.

The HFEA is one of several ALBs to be targeted in today's cull with the Government's aim to slash numbers by half. Other bodies to be affected include the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley expects the cuts to save more than £180 million by 2014/15, the Press Association reports. He said: 'Over the years the sector has grown to the point where overlap between organisations and duplication of effort have produced a needless bureaucratic web'.

'By making sure that the right functions are being carried out at the appropriate level, we will free up significant savings to support frontline NHS services'.

The Chair of the HFEA, Lisa Jardine said: 'Our task now is to deliver the organisational change that the Government has decided on and to ensure the continuity of the very high standard of regulation that the sector deserves and expects'.

HFEA and Health Protection Agency quangos face abolition or mergers
The Times |  26 July 2010
HFEA responds to Arm's Length Bodies review
HFEA |  26 July 2010
Liberating the NHS: Report of the arms-length bodies review
Department of Health |  26 July 2010
17 September 2012 - by Peter Thompson 
It's a busy week for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). As we launch our government-commissioned public consultation on mitochondria replacement, we are in the midst of a public debate about who should regulate IVF and embryo research. We will publish our response to the Government's consultation on the HFEA's future later this week. This comment piece gives a taste of what we will be saying....
19 December 2011 - by Sandy Starr 
The Public Bodies Bill - which empowers the UK Government to transfer the functions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the country's regulator of fertility treatment and embryo research - has received Royal Assent and has become the Public Bodies Act. This Act represents the realisation in statute of the Coalition Government's longstanding plans for a 'bonfire of the quangos'...
10 January 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The chair of the UK's fertility regulator has said a principle governing how human embryos are used in research may be undermined by proposed changes to UK research governance. Professor Lisa Jardine warned the ''safeguarding of the 'special status of the embryo'' could be lost...
27 September 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The UK Government's advisory body on new developments in human genetics faces an uncertain future after it appeared on a leaked list of 177 quangos facing Government review and abolition. Members of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) received an email on Friday from the Department of Health (DH) apologising for the leak in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, but not contradicting its substance...
24 September 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The UK's fertility regulator is on a Government 'hit list' of quangos facing abolition, according to a letter leaked this week. The letter, dated 26 August, supposedly from Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to other ministers lists the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) among 177 quangos due to be axed...
19 July 2010 - by Anoushka Shepherd 
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) held its open Authority meeting on Wednesday 7 July. The meeting discussed general advances in its work, received feedback from the Hampton Working Group and considered the data of compliance with multiple birth rate targets. The most pertinent and interesting presentation focused on feedback regarding the evaluation of the Donation Review...
9 June 2010 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Data recently obtained by the Sunday Times newspaper, via a Freedom of Information Act enquiry to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), show that an average of 80 pregnancies achieved through IVF treatment are terminated each year....
1 June 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has announced its upcoming release of a new fertility treatment reference and information guide, entitled 'Getting started: Your guide to fertility treatment', aimed to assist people at the outset of considering fertility treatment options....
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