‘Phased return’ of fertility services welcomed

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Friday, August 14th, 2020

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the return of services at the Regional Fertility Centre (RFC) which recommenced on a phased basis.


Minister Swann - Newry news


Minister Swann also said that the eligibility for anyone currently on the waiting list will be extended by a year, in recognition of the disruption to the service caused by COVID-19.

This temporary measure will reduce the pressure for women who would otherwise breach the upper age limit before receiving treatment.



The Minister said, “Although fertility treatments are considered to be routine elective services and the focus is on re-starting urgent services first, I have made it clear that re-starting fertility services is a priority for me and as such, preparations have been ongoing to enable this to happen as soon as possible.

“As treatment will re-start on a phased basis, it will take some time before service levels can be restored to full pre-COVID-19 provision. 

“To mitigate some of the delays, the RFC will be opening extended hours to help provide appointments to as many patients as safely as possible.

“In recognition of the distress caused to women who are currently waiting for treatment at the RFC, the eligibility for anyone currently on the waiting list will be extended by a year.

“This will reduce the pressure for women who would otherwise breach the upper age limit before receiving treatment. 



He added, “This temporary extension to the age limit will only apply to women currently on the waiting list.”

Staff at the RFC will be in touch with patients directly once they are in a position to resume their appointments.

The restoration of services is aligned with the Strategic Framework for Rebuilding Health and Social Care (HSC) Services on 9 June and Phase 2 Rebuilding Plans on 10 July. 

The key aim will be to incrementally increase HSC service capacity as quickly as possible across all programmes of care, within the prevailing COVID-19 conditions. 

Subsequent phases will see these service activity plans and targets updated in three monthly cycles.

SDLP Health Spokesperson, Colin McGrath MLA welcomed the news.

The South Down MLA commented, “The cancellation of health services at the height of the pandemic was the right course of action, but understandably caused significant distress to many across the North.



“It is difficult to think of a more distressing situation that those people desperate to start a family and waiting for fertility treatment.

“It is very welcome news that this invaluable service will resume on a phased basis.

“This will provide huge relief to those waiting to commence treatment.

“It is also welcome that the service hours have been extended, to accommodate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” McGrath added.


Tall Paul Marketing, Freelance Northern Ireland Copywriter, Blog Writer, Content Writer, Blog Writer, Content Writer


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