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





NHS Surrey to stop providing IVF

22 November 2010

By Harriet Vickers

Appeared in BioNews 585

NHS Surrey is the latest Primary Care Trusts  to stop providing IVF for new patients. Facing a £125 million budget deficit this year, the trust has decided to suspend all new courses of the treatment, although women nearing 40 will be considered and ongoing treatments will be continued. Previously it funded up to two full cycles of IVF per couple, if the woman was aged between 23 and 39.

'By stopping doing things which aren't clinically necessary, we can safeguard and continue to do what's clinically essential or urgent, such as cancer referrals and life-threatening trauma cases in A&E', said Dr John Omany, the trust's medical director. Other treatments to be discontinued include acupuncture, spinal epidural injections for chronic back pain and some cosmetic procedures - such as those for male baldness, facial blushing and removing tattoos.

The decision was taken after the trust's board met to discuss 'serious financial challenges'. Treatments were categorised under a 'Fast, Steady, Stop' programme - those under 'Fast' are to be provided immediately, with those under 'Steady' to be available in turn and on time. 'Stop' treatments will not be provided at all. 'If you don't need it the NHS won't pay for it', said the board. The IVF policy is set to be reviewed next November.

The cuts come after several other trusts stopped offering new cycles of IVF. A recent survey conducted by Pulse magazine revealed nine out of the 124 trusts who participated in the survey had not funded treatment since September 2008, despite the government pledging to end the 'postcode lottery' when launching the 2004 NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines. Since then NHS West Kent has also suspended all non-urgent IVF until April 2011. The guidelines recommend the NHS should provide up to three full cycles of IVF for eligible patients.

 

 

SOURCES & REFERENCES
BBC News | 22 November 2010
 
NHS Surrey: assisted conception policy
NHS Surrey | 01 July 2008
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

12 March 2012 - by Cathy Holding 
IVF is only miraculous and life-changing if it works, but in some areas of the country you're less likely to be able to try on the NHS. BBC One's 'Postcode Lottery' follows a couple who could attempt treatment if they lived elsewhere... [Read More]
14 November 2011 - by Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
NHS Surrey will reinstate free IVF treatment on 1 April 2012, following a year's suspension to cut costs... [Read More]
17 January 2011 - by Chris Chatterton 
Over the last few months BioNews has covered the developing story that a number of PCTs across England have suspended their fertility services, citing financial constraints as a prominent factor.... [Read More]
13 December 2010 - by Clare Lewis-Jones MBE 
The National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC) [1] has been outraged by recent announcements from at least ten Primary Care Trusts in England to suspend or severely restrict funding for infertility services. Infertility services meet a health need so why are they being slashed in this way?... [Read More]
06 December 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
Stockport NHS Trust has announced it is to stop funding IVF treatment for new patients. The Primary Care Trust (PCT), which is attempting to implement spending cuts totalling £21 million, will allow patients currently on its IVF waiting list to receive one cycle of treatment... [Read More]

08 November 2010 - by Ken Hanscombe 
NHS West Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT) has suspended IVF treatments considered non-urgent until April 2011. The measure is aimed at avoiding a projected overspend of approximately £40m on the PCT's budget of £1.013 billion, within the first six months of the coming year... [Read More]
06 September 2010 - by Sarah Guy 
Data made available under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that in some areas of the UK, primary care trusts (PCTs) have placed a blanket ban on requests for IVF treatment because of depleted resources... [Read More]
23 August 2010 - by Gozde Zorlu 
Funding of IVF treatment has been suspended by Warrington Primary Care Trust (PCT) following a review to assess whether the service matched agreed health priorities and offered the best value for money. Warrington is the only PCT in the North West, of which there are 24, to cut the funding of IVF, reports say... [Read More]
01 July 2010 - by National Infertility Awareness Campaign 
When the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was asked to produce a clinical guideline on infertility back in 2000, it was with the aim of creating fairer and faster access to services for patients. At that time, the vast majority of couples seeking treatment for infertility had to pay for it privately... [Read More]

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