NHS chiefs in the region have cancelled face-to-face fertility consultations amid the coronavirus pandemic and will offer telephone consultations instead.

A letter sent out to a couple dated May 5, from the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, stated: “We have to make sure that our doctors and nurses are able to care for those patients in greatest need, including the growing numbers of people with Covid-19.

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“We also need to protect our staff and patients from the risk of infection, and help to reduce the spread of coronavirus, by reducing the number of people coming to our hospital.

“This means we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel or postpone a number of outpatients appointments and it is with regret your appointment has been cancelled.”

The couple have been offered a telephone consultation with their specialist.

A spokesman for the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said around four to five clinics are going ahead each week during the pandemic, with around 30 patients being in touch with specialists over the telephone.

On May 1, Government’s health minister Matt Hancock, at a daily coronavirus press briefing, said: ‘Now that we are past the peak, I am delighted to announce the restoration of fertility services.

“People who are relying on fertility treatment have been worried during these unprecedented times not knowing when they could continue their journey to start a family.

“We wanted to open these clinics as soon as it was safe to do so.”

A message on the website of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority stated: “We know that the closure of fertility clinics due to the pandemic has been extremely stressful.

“We now have a clear plan for how clinics can offer treatment safely to patients during the continuing pandemic.”