Page URL:

Belfast fertility clinic to challenge watchdog's ruling

28 August 2012
Appeared in BioNews 670

A Northern Irish fertility clinic has protested against a regulatory notice which could mean it has to stop accepting new patients.

Origin Fertility Care in Belfast was inspected by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), the health and social care regulatory body for Northern Ireland, which not only flagged concerns about non-compliance with regulations, but noted that, on follow-up, these problems had not been sufficiently addressed.

According to the RQIA the clinic had failed to comply with eight of its regulations, including a lack of staff supervision, training, and inadequate handling of complaints and patient records.

After early inspections, the clinic closed in June for two weeks in order to reorganise, but when the RQIA visited after it re-opened, it still found that regulations were not being adhered to. The RQIA issued a 'notice of proposal' in July, putting the wheels in motion for its closure. It said that the clinic's failure to meet regulatory standards had 'led to concern regarding the ongoing safety and wellbeing of patients and Origin Fertility Care's ability to deliver a safe and effective service at this time'.

But the clinic, which has 28 days to appeal, believes that the RQIA's decision was premature and is challenging it, telling the BBC it is seeking legal recourse to 'protect their good name and reputation'.

A notice to patients placed on its website read: 'We are robustly challenging the findings of the last inspection and the resultant notice of proposal'.

Origin managing director Jenny Hall also told the BBC that the clinic was satisfied that systems now in place ensure a 'high standard of service to patients'.

'Publication has occurred before we had ever viewed their "detailed report" and without being given an opportunity to respond to the points raised', she said, adding that she felt the RQIA had potentially created 'a circumstance of uncertainty particularly for vulnerable patients currently undergoing treatment'.

Some politicians have voiced approval over the RQIA's actions. Jim Wells, deputy chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly's health committee, who recently sparked a row after claiming victims of sexual assault should not be exempt from laws prohibiting abortion, told the Belfast Telegraph earlier in August that he was relieved the healthcare regulator is 'showing its teeth'.

'Hopefully as a result of this intervention this clinic will be put back on an even keel', he said.

Belfast fertility clinic challeges admissions refusal
BBC News |  16 August 2012
Home Page
Origin Fertility Care |  28 November 2021
MLA hails watchdog's intervention in fertility clinic row
Belfast Telegraph |  17 August 2012
Notice of Proposal - Origin Fertility Care
RQIA |  30 July 2012
10 February 2014 - by Chee Hoe Low 
The sudden closure of an Irish IVF clinic has left patients unable to access their medical files, with some claiming that they are owed substantial amounts of money, reports the Irish Independent....
22 October 2012 - by Jessica Ware 
A private fertility clinic in Belfast that was ordered to stop accepting patients after concerns over non-compliance with regulations has had its restrictions lifted after nearly two months...
30 April 2012 - by Annabel Christie 
Following the investigation of abortion clinics, fertility clinics should now improve their procedures so that there are no unwanted surprises if they are similarly inspected...
26 March 2012 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
Couples in Northern Ireland claim they are being discriminated against as they are only offered one cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS. This is in comparison to the two or three available in the rest of the UK...
6 December 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Northern Ireland's High Court of Justice has rejected a claim for damages brought by two children born as a result of IVF treatment provided to their mother which resulted in them being of different skin colour than intended...
30 March 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
The UK government has announced an extra £1.5 million to help improve access to fertility services in Northern Ireland. It is estimated that 600 people join waiting lists for fertility treatment in Northern Ireland every year. It is hoped the extra funding will help reduce waiting times...
27 October 2008 - by Sarah Pritchard 
The Health Minister for Northern Ireland, Michael McGimpsey, announced this week that he is to spend £800,000 on publicly-funded fertility services. He aims to cut NHS waiting times, currently up to 2 years, and, by relaxing eligibility criteria, to allow an additional 200 women to be treated...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.