Last night, we all watched with heavy hearts as Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister delivered the news that yet again, England will be going into a full-on lockdown as of midnight tonight (GMT Tuesday 5th)
Within moments of his speech, we received emails from so many of you, who were concerned that we would find ourselves in the same position as we did back in 2020, with fertility clinics closing and IVF cycles being cancelled. So, we got straight on the phone to James Nicopoullos, Clinical Director of the Lister Fertility Clinic, who was quick to reassure us that the clinics will definitely be keeping their doors open.
“Happy New Year to all and let’s hope 2021 gives us the health, hope, and calm that we so lacked in 2020. The vaccine program finally gives us an end in sight to this horrible period for all of us.
“Until then it remains imperative that everyone remains safe and well whilst the new Covid variant is brought under control with the newest lockdown measures.
“Our teams at both the Lister Fertility Clinic and IVF Babble have received many enquiries from patients who are understandably anxious about whether another lockdown will affect access to fertility treatment. Because of this, we thought it useful to respond to try and ease any worries and concerns.
“Following the first wave, all units were required by the HFEA to put stringent safety measures in place to reapply for their licenses, reopen and provide treatments that we have safely and successfully since May. At present, there is no indication from the HFEA that this will change.
“These processes to protect both patients and staff were guided by professional bodies, our regulator, NHS guidance, and in our case, particularly stringent safety measures already in place across our hospital group. They included triage and pre-treatment testing, mandatory PPE use, use of protective barriers, a complete reworking of processes to minimise numbers in clinic at any time, regular testing, and now vaccination of staff; all of these measures remain under constant review.
“Whilst these measures continue to ensure your safety, we are all acutely aware of the pressure on the NHS and have already offered support and services where possible and are increasingly mindful of avoiding adding any workload to them from our treatments.
“I’m sure these sentiments will be echoed by my colleagues in other clinics with whom we have worked so well and collaboratively in this difficult time.
“We’re open for you. We’re safe for you. We’re here for you”
James Nicopoullos, Clinical Director, Lister Fertility Clinic
The HFEA, UK’s regulatory authority for fertility clinics, has also announced a statement
“As the UK wide regulator of fertility clinics, we consider fertility clinics can continue to safely offer treatment during the latest lockdown..”
“Treatment at some clinics may be affected by the pandemic due to local circumstances, for example where there are a lot of clinic staff who are ill or isolating, or where staff have been redeployed to other areas within the heath service.”
“Patients should keep in contact with their clinic who can update them on any changes to their services.”
To view the HFEA’s full statement visit here