Staff to Patient Ratios

The purpose of staff to patient ratios is to guarantee the delivery of safe, high quality scientific fertility services. The motivation to pursue this claim is based on the evidence that increasing investment in scientific services will lead to better outcomes for patients and a more productive and efficient healthcare system.

As outlined in the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Guidelines for Good Practice in IVF Laboratories (2015):

Personnel are one of the most important parts of an IVF laboratory. The number of laboratory staff should reflect the number of cycles performed per year. As an approximate guide, clinics that perform up to 150 retrievals and/or cryopreservation cycles per year should have always a minimum of two qualified clinical embryologists. This initial number will increase depending not only on the number of treatments, but also on the complexity of the procedures, techniques and tasks undertaken within the laboratory. Other duties such as administration, training, education, quality management and communication also need consideration.

National and international studies have irrefutably proven that the number, skill mix and work environment of scientists directly affects the safety and quality performance of health services.

PSA is working to: 
  • Clarify staffing levels as a risk management issue in the RTAC Code of Practice
  • Ensure staffing levels as a critical criterion to be audited annually
  • Inclusion of an agreed benchmark method or methods for calculating the number of qualified fertility scientists required in an ART laboratory according to the number of cycles performed and other relevant factors be included in the RTAC Code of Practice Code, Enterprise Bargaining Agreements and workplace policy
  • Ensure employers recognise inadequate staffing levels as a serious occupational health and safety issue