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IVF doctor's 'cavalier charges'

1st March 2006

A controversial fertility doctor charged patients for procedures they did not want, need or get, the General Medical Council has heard.

Professor Ian Craft, director of the Harley Street-based London Gynaecology and Fertility Centre, stands accused of irresponsibly treating two patients. He denies serious professional misconduct.

Professor Craft sparked controversy when he helped a 60-year-old woman become Britain's oldest new mother. Liz Buttle from Wales gave birth to a son in 1997 after he treated her.

Joanna Glynn QC, representing two patients known as Ms B and Mrs K who were treated by the centre between 1998 and 2002, told the GMC's Fitness to Practice Panel that the case was about "sharp financial practice."

"It is about charging patients for things they did not want, did not need or did not get - such as the charging of £125 for a three-minute consultation at which Ms B will say that nothing of anything significance was spoken."  She said the case was also about poor consenting procedures and poor recording of information.

Childless Miss B of Teddington, south London, was 40 and desperate to have a baby when she first visited the Harley Street clinic, the GMC heard. Mrs K was described as "simply an altruistic donator of her eggs" and was 25 when she first visited the clinic.

The GMC heard Professor Craft had either been directly involved in the women's treatment or was ultimately responsible for it as head of the clinic.

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