Charity’s call to ensure fertility unit ‘consistency’

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A CHARITY which supports Islanders trying to conceive has raised concerns about potential disruptions to the Assisted Reproduction Unit should rehabilitation services be reinstated at Overdale.

Chloé Fosse, from Tiny Seeds, said that the unit needed ‘long-term consistency’ and any short-notice relocation could have ‘negative consequences on those undergoing treatment’.

Her comments come after Senator Steve Pallett’s proposition was passed in the States last week to reinstate the Island’s rehabilitation services to Samarès Ward in Overdale, where they used to be based, or to another suitable location, with the Health Minister due to report back to States Members by 1 March.

The vote followed a number of rehabilitation patients sharing their negative experiences of the 14-bed unit at Plémont Ward and the care they had received within the community. This service replaced the Samarès Ward facility, which closed in 2020.

Mrs Fosse said that the charity was seeking clarification on the Assisted Reproduction Unit’s future.

The unit was relocated to Samarès Ward in 2020, from its purpose-built clinic in the General Hospital, following a period of closure.

‘We understand that the service will need to relocate with the upcoming new hospital build. However, we want to raise the importance that this move – whether it is sooner due to the reinstatement of the stroke and rehabilitation service to within Samarès Ward itself or a little further down the line – it needs to have no impact on users of the service. We are asking for the needs of all service users to be considered, for the best solutions to be found for all and without any disruption to service,’ she said.

‘The unit needs long-term consistency as the disruption over the last couple of years due to Covid, closure and relocation of services, along with a change in personnel, has meant that the impacts on users have been very real. We do not feel that the former Les Quennevais School site, which has been suggested for relocating some of the current services based at Overdale, would be appropriate for the unit,’ she added.

Mrs Fosse said that even ‘the smallest of disruption’ could impact those undergoing fertility treatment.

‘It [disruption] could lead to abandoned cycles of treatment which would have physical, emotional and financial impact on the service users concerned,’ she said.

‘Fertility treatment requires regular appointments which people often find themselves juggling alongside work and other commitments. Appointments often lead to a change in drug protocol and a subsequent trip to the pharmacy immediately afterwards. It is therefore important that the distance needed to travel to the pharmacy and the time required away from work and other commitments is kept to a minimum,’ she added.

The JEP approached the Health Minister for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of going to print.

However, the charity said they had spoken with Deputy Renouf and were ‘encouraged’ by his reassurances that the needs of the unit would be taken into account.

The charity added that they were given ‘supportive responses’ from Senator Pallett, St John Constable Andy Jehan and St Martin Constable Karen Shenton-Stone.

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