Fertility clinic patients impacted by Homerton shortage 'can have treatment elsewhere'

Homerton University Hospital

Homerton University Hospital - Credit: Fin Fahey

Patients hit by staff shortages at a north London fertility clinic have been told they can be treated elsewhere.

The Homerton Hospital in Hackney had to suspend some of its fertility services because of “some extraordinary and unforeseen operational challenges”, including staff shortages at the fertility service.

The problem came when clinical scientists left the fertility unit within a short period.

It meant the fertility unit faced a shortage of staff to perform vital embryology procedures.

The hospital hopes to resume a normal service within the next six months.

It has now found spaces on the patient list for fresh embryo transfers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Barts Centre for Reproductive Medicine.

The Homerton is contacting patients to let them know and staff will be talking to them in the next few weeks to discuss their options. They will talk to them about whether they want to start treatment at the other centres or stay on the waiting list at the Homerton Fertility Centre.

Homerton Hospital

Homerton Hospital - Credit: LDRS

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They are being told they will have named doctors, nurses and administrative members at both trusts to “ensure a seamless transfer and maintain frequent communication”.

It will mean those teams will manage the transfer of medical notes.

Dr Garima Srivastava, Homerton’s fertility clinical lead said the centre in Hackney will resume frozen embryo transfers and intrauterine inseminations at the Homerton Fertility Centre Site from May.

One woman, Emily, from Haringey, had said the delays to treatment forced her to  consider borrowing money to fund treatment privately.

She said she had started treatment at the Homerton Centre before managers said it would be put on hold.

Emily said delays are crucial for people awaiting fertility treatment.

“It’s a time sensitive thing. I do not think if they did not have capacity they should even start treating you.”

She said other women like her have had their cycles abandoned at the Homerton and had started to look elsewhere in their hope of having a baby.