On 13 December 2009, The Independent on Sunday quoted Professor Brian Toft, a patient safety expert at Coventry University, saying that the HFEA had “failed” in its duties in investigating errors by the Trust, which had led to embryos belonging to three couples being destroyed and their cycles of treatment jettisoned. He described the HFEA as “not fi t for purpose”. Professor Toft warned that scores of other fertility clinics could also be taking risks. The Independent reported that Professor Toft had said that “the watchdog’s failure to punish the hospital for those errors had increased the chance of similar mistakes at other clinics” and that the HFEA “should have sanctioned the hospital immediately... putting a very severe cap on the number of patients it was allowed to treat”, or got rid of the head of the assisted conception unit”. To read the full text of the article, go to: http://lifeandstyle.independentminds.livejournal.com/1065950.html.

The HFEA issued a statement in response, contending that Professor Toft/The Independent’s facts were wrong. The HFEA said that it had investigated this incident “rigorously and within the framework laid down by law” and that it would be contrary to natural justice to impose conditions along the lines advocated by Professor Toft.