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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter





Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust boosts IVF provision

16 July 2012

By Jessica Ware

Appeared in BioNews 665

Couples undergoing fertility treatment in Gloucestershire will soon have access to three NHS-funded cycles of IVF treatment instead of just one and eligibility criteria will be widened.

Changes are set to be implemented by October 2012, from which date women over 23 years old will have access to up to three cycles on the NHS. Previously, the minimum age requirement for patients was 30; the upper age limit of 39 remains the same.

The new policy is a joint venture between NHS Swindon and NHS Gloucester who up until now have had differing commissioning policies for fertility treatment. NHS Swindon allows three IVF cycles, compared to just one cycle currently commissioned by NHS Gloucester. The increase is expected to cost an extra £1.5 million per year, but this figure could be less depending on how the service is contracted.

From October, one policy will cover both PCTs and is largely in line with guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) - although NICE has recently published a draft guideline stating that women up to 42 years old should be eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS.

NHS Gloucestershire has not said whether all of the proposed criteria will be applied to prospective patients, but the PCT's medical director Dr Liz Mearns said it 'will review its criteria for access to IVF treatment when NICE publishes its revised guidance, following the consultation process'.

Commenting on the announcement, Clare Lewis-Jones, chair of National Infertility Awareness Campaign, said: 'We hope that this increase from one to three cycles will be the first step towards full implementation of the NICE guideline in all PCTs, which will allow patients to access the level of treatment they deserve'.

 

SOURCES & REFERENCES
NHS Gloucestershire | 17 May 2012
 
This is Gloucestershire | 23 May 2012
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

09 July 2012 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
The funding of fertility treatment in the UK is among the lowest in Europe, according to a new study presented at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in Istanbul... [Read More]
02 July 2012 - by Louisa Ghevaert 
The inconsistent and inadequate provision of IVF treatment on the NHS is an unacceptable way to treat the one in seven UK couples (3.5 million people) currently affected by infertility... [Read More]
28 May 2012 - by Mark Johnson 
From next year, local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups will take on the commissioning responsibilities of Primary Care Trusts, with the latter due to be abolished in April 2013. This now includes responsibility for commissioning fertility services such as IVF treatment... [Read More]
16 January 2012 - by Jessica Ware 
The number of publicly funded IVF cycles dropped by nearly 14 percent this financial year in the UK, an investigation by the GP magazine Pulse has revealed... [Read More]
31 October 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman 
An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that a fifth of PCTs are offering single women IVF on the NHS... [Read More]

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