I have just finished reading Fertility Clinics: the good, the bad and the ugly, an interesting article in this January’s Fertility Road magazine. It is written by Jessica Hepburn who has just published the book The Pursuit of Motherhood in which she describes her unfortunately extensive experience of fertility centres and the quality of care.
She raises some interesting points which I have considered in the light of our own facilities at the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre.
The waiting room
Hepburn describes clinics that look like everything from something out of a Dickens novel to a high end contemporary art gallery. Some don’t even have enough chairs to go around let alone offer you a degree of privacy.
We have a bright modern waiting area, with plenty of seats, magazines and a choice of hot and cold drinks. If any of our patients would prefer to wait in private we can accommodate them in a treatment room. Our receptionists have excellent customer care skills. In fact, the most important part of their job is to make all of our visitors completely welcome and at ease. We even have an aquarium with a range of tropical fish taking up a large part of one wall.
We believe that a couple should be together at any stage of their treatment should they wish. It is not our policy to reject the male partner once he has provided the sperm. Really it is entirely up to the patients. Both can be present for the initial consultation, through the various tests to the embryo transfer process. And we operate a named nurse system so that one nurse will see you through your whole journey with us, providing a familiar face and voice at the end of the telephone whenever needed. In fact many of our new parents bring their babies to meet their nurse such is the strength of the bond that has developed between them.
How to face failure
Sadly there are times when we have to break bad news to our patients. That is when you really will appreciate the unique relationships you have built with your nurse and doctor; those who have been with you through your journey and who know your history. You will be given a full explanation, your options going forward and … a shoulder to cry on. You certainly will not be asked to settle your bill and leave the building.
It maybe that you require time to get over your disappointment so we will leave you alone for a short while before making contact again to see how you are or if you wish to resume your treatment.
Don’t make a fuss
We are aware that a patient can sometimes feel intimidated by a doctor so much so that they do not ask questions or challenge any decisions. We very much hope that this does not apply to the medical staff at Herts & Essex where we make sure that the patient always comes first. The response to our feedback questionnaire is generally exemplary and in fact we are known within the industry as being a particularly caring bunch! A visit to the Fertility Show at Olympia, held in November each year, gives you an opportunity to chat with the staff of all the exhibiting clinics and provides a good opportunity to gauge the ethos of the clinic.
The Herts & Essex Fertility Centre also has the professional endorsement of the ISO 9001.2008 which ensures that our services consistently meet our patient’s requirements – should you require any further reassurance.