Examination of Witnesses (Questions 420
WEDNESDAY 21 JULY 2004
Q420 Dr Iddon: Do you get the feeling
that there might be better ways of governing quality control in
these clinics; for example by technical accreditation or in any
Professor Toft: Indeed. Any way
which improves the system has to be wanted. So, yes, there are
quality assurance techniques and so forth. However, I would also
say that they themselves can fall down, so the more you can put
in the better. If you get too complicated, you then start to create
a situation where errors are bound to occur anyway.
Q421 Dr Iddon: You mentioned other
adverse incidentsI think, nine. Are you able to say what
those were and whether other clinics have been made aware of them
so that they can avoid falling into the same traps?
Professor Toft: The events I was
told about were to do with embryos being implanted in the wrong
woman. I am under the impression that that information has now
been given to the clinics.
Q422 Dr Harris: It is your viewcoming
back to the issue the Chairman asked you about initiallythat
the HFEA did not work that closely with you in the preparation
of your report.
Professor Toft: That is correct.
Q423 Dr Harris: Why do you think
the Department of Health state in their response to your report
that, "Both the HFEA and the trust have worked closely with
Professor Toft in the course of the review?"
Professor Toft: That is because
after the change of executive they did work very closely with
me. You did say "in preparation of my report" and that
was right at the very beginning, as I started to try to take evidence.
But subsequently they worked very closely with me. I did establish
a very good working relationship with HFEA eventually.
Q424 Dr Harris: Towards the end?
Professor Toft: It would be absolutely
true to say that following the appointment of Angela McNab my
relationship with the authority changed completely.
Q425 Dr Harris: Were you disappointed
that the Department of Health's response seems to suggest that
there was not an initial problem?
Professor Toft: No, I think, writ
large, it is accurate. It was right at the very beginning. There
were problems, these problems were sorted out, and from then on
I think things went very smoothly.
Q426 Dr Turner: You mentioned nine
Professor Toft: I think that is
Q427 Dr Turner: Well, give or take.
Professor Toft: Yes.
Q428 Dr Turner: Did you form any
impression as to whether this was a true figure or whether there
may have been other incidents which went unreported?
Professor Toft: That is very hard
for me to sayin fact, it is impossible for me to say. I
cannot say what people did not say; all I can say is that I believe
that when the research was done by the authority, effectively
by Angela McNab and her people, that was a true reflection of
what they found.
Q429 Chairman: The last questionI
am back on Sir Liam Donaldson: Did he send you a thank you letter
Professor Toft: I have to say
that he did not.
Q430 Chairman: He did not?
Professor Toft: I have not received
Q431 Chairman: Not even a Christmas
Professor Toft: Not even a Christmas
Q432 Chairman: Do you think he read
Professor Toft: I think he did
read the report. Of course, I could not possibly know whether
he actually read the report or not.
Chairman: Professor Toft, thank you very
much indeed for your frankness. It has helped us to orientate
ourselves for the next session.