The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has appointed a new Chair. Suzi Leather will succeed Ruth Deech, who has been Chair of the HFEA since 1994, with effect from 6 March.
Ms Leather is currently the Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency and will continue to hold this post as well as chairing the HFEA. Her experience and interests encompass consumer protection, health services, the role of regulation in improving services and the link between science and public policy.
On her appointment, Ms Leather commented 'I am delighted to be able to contribute to the HFEA. As the first statutory body of its kind in the world, the HFEA has an important role to play in rigorously enforcing the regulations set out by Parliament and providing information about infertility treatment and developments in human embryo research'. She also stated that she was 'determined that high clinical standards are maintained, and the ethical and moral issues properly debated. Both are key to maintaining public confidence and understanding'.
Professor Christopher Barratt, of the Assisted Conception Unit at Birmingham Women's Hospital, has also been appointed to the HFEA as a new member. Health Minister Yvette Cooper welcomed the two appointments, saying that 'appointment to the HFEA is challenging, putting members at the frontline of work in an important and ever changing field of activity'.