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Problems at the clinic

Unfortunately not everyone has the positive clinic experience they were hoping for. Find out how you can make a complaint about your clinic, what happens if they make a mistake and how you can give feedback to help others who are in the process of choosing a clinic.

What happens if a clinic makes a mistake with my treatment?

Unfortunately, mistakes can happen in any organisation. However, when they happen in a healthcare setting it’s essential that they’re reported to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Every clinic must report any incident, including ‘near misses,' to us so that they can learn from the experience and, if necessary, put measures in place to prevent similar incidents in the future.

We produce an annual report on ‘adverse incidents’ to help all clinics understand where mistakes are being made and to improve the quality of treatment and care you receive.

Read our latest adverse incident report

What can I do if I have a complaint about my clinic?

It’s important to follow your clinic’s complaints procedure before coming to us, as in some cases the problem can be cleared up directly with the clinic.

When making your complaint, be clear about exactly what happened, who was involved, when, where and why you weren’t happy. You should also consider what you want the clinic to do to put things right, whether that’s an apology or a change to the way they do things to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

If you submit your complaint in writing make sure you keep a copy of all your correspondence and a note of when you sent it.

What if I’ve complained to my clinic and I’m still not happy?

If you’ve reached the end of your clinic’s complaints process and are still not happy, you can complain to us. You should normally refer your complaint to us within six months of becoming aware of the problem and we’ll investigate where we can.

You should know that we can’t intervene in disputes about funding and treatment costs and we have limited powers to intervene if a clinic refuses treatment. To start our complaints process, please email us at enquiriesteam@hfea.gov.uk or you can write to us (including any supporting documents) at:

Complaints inspector

HFEA

10 Spring Gardens

London SW1A 2BU

Can I change clinics during treatment?

You can, although it’s much easier to do this between treatment cycles rather than in the middle of a cycle. Once you’ve finished a cycle any leftover embryos can be moved to your new clinic and you can resume treatment.

If you do have concerns during your cycle you should raise them with your clinic as soon as possible.

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How can I give feedback about my clinic?

We encourage everyone who’s had fertility treatment at a UK licensed clinic in the last 12 months to give a rating on our website, whether their experience was good or bad. You can rate your clinic in six areas, including whether you’d recommend it to friends and family, whether you were treated with empathy and understanding and whether you paid what you expected. Please note, the ratings feature is not designed for people with a complaint – see above for information about that.

Your ratings are invaluable in helping other people decide if a clinic is right for them and helps to create an open and transparent environment for fertility services where patients are in the driving seat. It also encourages clinics to continue to improve their service to ensure their patients’ satisfaction is reflected in their ratings. Search for your clinic via the link below to give your feedback:

Choose a fertility clinic

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Review date: 8 November 2019