Chaucer Hospital to close fertility clinic in Canterbury

by Gerry Warren

A fertility clinic in Canterbury which has helped thousands of women conceive is to close.

The Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury is shutting its assisted conception unit with the loss of nine jobs because of a fall in demand.

BMI Healthcare, which runs the clinic from the private hospital in Nackington Road, said the continuing drop in patient numbers meant it was no longer viable.

The unit was opened in January 1996 and has provided IVF and other fertility treatments to 5,600 women over the past 21 years.

Jake, now four, with mum Nina Helmer and dad Jeff Hill

But it will close at the end of June, with nine staff – including a consultant, nurses and administrators – being made redundant.

Among the many happy mothers sad to see it close is Nina Helmer, 35, who had a baby boy, Jake, who celebrated his fourth birthday on Wednesday.

'I can’t thank the marvellous staff enough for what they did for us'

The part-time dance teacher was told in her 20s that she would be unlikely to ever have children because she had endometriosis.

She received the bombshell news soon after meeting partner Jeff Hill, but was later referred by an NHS consultant in 2012 to the Chaucer Hospital’s assisted conception team.

She said: “I can’t thank the marvellous staff enough for what they did for us and the joy we had in having Jake, who is now a lively young lad and soon to start pre-school.

“It wouldn’t have happened without their support, and we were delighted to take Jake back there soon after he was born and give them a bunch of flowers.

Jake Hill was born through fertility treatment at the Chaucer Hospital

“It’s very sad for the staff who treated us so well and with such sensitivity.”

BMI spokesman Penny Mitchell said existing Chaucer patients were being referred to the BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital in Orpington.

She said: “It has not been an easy decision but the clinic is just not getting adequate numbers of patients and fewer referrals from the NHS, while being very expensive to run. With a clinical pregnancy rate of over 67%, we have had some great successes.

“So it’s sad for the team who have gained great happiness from helping couples conceive and meeting their new babies.”

The Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury

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