A Sheffield scientist who has helped change the way IVF treatment is carried out across the country has been named Healthcare Scientist of the Year.
Rachel Cutting, Principal Embryologist at the Assisted Conception Unit at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was given the award by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at the Chief Scientific Officer’s Healthcare Science event last week.
The Healthcare Scientist of the Year award is granted annually by the Department of Health as part of an award scheme that recognises outstanding individual achievement within the health service. The winners are selected annually by the Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Sue Hill OBE.
The award recognises in particular Rachel’s uncompromising commitment to a project called ‘One at a time’, which promotes single embryo transfer during IVF treatment. The award also acknowledged Rachel’s outstanding leadership, and her dedication to teamwork and promoting better outcomes for patients.
Rachel, who has worked in assisted conception in Sheffield since 1994, said: “It was a wonderful surprise to be awarded Healthcare Scientist of the year at the awards. It recognises the work of the ‘One at a time’ project, which promotes patient safety by reducing multiple pregnancies.
“Whilst I received the award, it reflects the hard work done by many dedicated people who I am fortunate to work alongside and I would like to thank my colleagues for all the support they have given me.”
The ‘One at a time’ project has focused on improving patient safety by promoting single embryo transfer for mothers undergoing IVF treatment. The biggest single risk factor for mothers and babies following fertility treatment is multiple births, which lead to higher mortality rates. Approximately one in four treatment pregnancies are a multiple pregnancy compared to one in 80 for women who conceive naturally.