The fertility and human tissue regulators will not be disbanded, a government commission has decided.
The Department of Health (DH) responded to proposals to transfer functions from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Health Research Authority (HRA).
“We have listened to the views of those who responded to this consultation and it’s clear further work is needed to ensure they offer taxpayers the best value,” said Public Health Minister Anna Soubry.
The consultation was part of government plans to cut NHS administrative costs by more than a third by 2015.
Savings of over £180 million could be delivered by “streamlining functions” of NHS bodies, the government has said.
Soubry said: “We have a duty to taxpayers to make sure that services are delivered in the most efficient way possible. By making sure that responsibilities are being carried out at the right level, we can free up savings to support front-line NHS services.”
DH will now launch a public review into the HFEA and HTA on how they can be more “efficient”.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “We saw no evidence or analysis to show that abolishing the HFEA and transferring its functions to the CQC would provide any benefit over the status quo.
“We believe the HFEA has been crucial in gaining public confidence in a sensitive area and there is merit in retaining a specialist regulator so that patients have a single, trusted point of contact.”
The independent review into HFEA and HTA will report to ministers in April, amid government suggestions of merging the two regulatory bodies.
Former HFEA member Peter Fraude said he was concerned by the proposal, which was rejected by a committee drafting the Human Tissues and Embryos Bill in 2007.
Professor Braude said: “There has been enough money wasted trying ineffectively to reorganise these regulators.
“It is patient safety and professional probity that matters.”
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