The search is on to fill a vacant post at the fertility unit at Homerton Hospital, which has had to transfer patients elsewhere because of a shortage of scientists.

The Homerton earlier this year contacted around 360 patients about problems that led to it pausing treatment at the unit.

One 37-year-old from Enfield said the delays were “like a rollercoaster” and meant her life was “on hold”.

Acting chief executive Dylan Jones said at a board meeting today it would take “months, not weeks” to hire new staff and for them to start work.

He said it was “difficult to put a precise date on it” when questioned.

“We will do whatever we can to bring the workforce in,” he added.

He stressed that patients had been given spaces at two other London hospitals for the time-sensitive fertility treatment.

Jones said he would bring a report to the next board meeting on 29 June, and urged patients to get in touch with any concerns.

In April, the trust said it was facing “some extraordinary and unforeseen operational challenges”, including staff shortages at the fertility


Patients said they were concerned by the delays, especially as the pandemic meant some treatments had already been put on hold. Some pointed out that it can be harder for older patients to conceive, meaning time was of the essence.

The problem came when clinical scientists left the fertility unit within a short period.

The hospital said it was left with a “shortage of staff to perform vital embryology procedures in the unit”, and that “recruitment of new clinical scientists is being carried out as a matter of urgency”.

At the time, it said it had hoped to resume a normal service within the next six months.

The hospital is offering counselling to affected patients.