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Our state of the sector report - what it means for you

We recently launched our annual state of the fertility sector report, which details the performance of fertility clinics in the UK over the last year, as well as how they performed in accordance with our standards.

We are pleased to report that the number of incidents remains low, despite the number of treatment cycles rising on last year.

This year we have also seen improved performance in clinics, with most of the 101 clinics we inspected this year being awarded a four year licence, the maximum length of a licence and a mark of high quality care and treatment. The report also shows that two thirds of clinics who had renewal inspections have made improvements on the previous year.

Sally Cheshire CBE, our chair said: I am pleased that this report indicates there is continued good performance across the UK fertility sector, but we know there is more work to be done to make sure that all patients receive the best quality of care.”

There are 37 themes that our inspectors look at on a clinic inspection. Across all inspections a total of 380 non-compliances were found, the majority of which being because of clinic’s own quality management system.

The number of incidents in 2017 remains low at 570 although this increased slightly from last year, in line with the number of treatment cycles carried out.

There were no Grade A incidents, the most serious category but the proportion of Grade B incidents increased to 41%, compared with 32% in the previous year. The number of Grade C incidents decreased from last year. 

The risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) from fertility treatment remains low but there were 52 patients reported as having severe or critical OHSS. Reiterating the importance of clinics being open about incidents, Sally Cheshire said “Any incident is one too many and it’s not only the grade A incidents that can have an adverse effect on patients. Clinical and administrative errors can cause patients distress and more work must be done in clinics to prevent incidents occurring,”

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Publication date: 20 December 2018

Review date: 20 December 2020