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IVF funding cut in Warrington

23 August 2010
Appeared in BioNews 572

Funding of IVF treatment has been suspended by Warrington 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.

In 2009 - 2010, NHS Warrington carried out 88 IVF cycles on 60 couples. It costs £4,320 for each IVF cycle of treatment. In 2008 - 2009, 96 cycles were performed. It is anticipated that the funding cut will make a saving of around £380,160 per year.

Patients who have already had one cycle will proceed to two and women already listed to start treatment will receive just one cycle. Women will continue to receive other treatments for infertility, such as hormonal treatment and help with ovulatory cycles.

The PCT will consider only 'exceptional treatment approval' applications from GPs for IVF treatment where there is a clinical need.

Dr Andrew Davies, chairman of NHS Warrington's clinical leadership team, said: 'While the panel recognised that infertility is a condition which causes great distress to the couples concerned, it does not affect general physical health or life expectancy and as such did not fulfil our health priorities'.

'This decision was not taken lightly. However, the PCT must focus on the health of the people of Warrington and on the need to maintain financial stability by providing high quality local healthcare', Dr Davies added.

The funding cut has angered Clare Lewis-Jones MBE, chairman of the National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC) and chief executive of charity The Infertility Network UK. She said: 'We are very angry indeed at the decision taken by Warrington PCT to suspend funding for IVF treatment. The PCT has suggested that infertility does not affect general physical health but we deal with patients every day who contact us and whose health has been adversely affected by this illness'.

'NICE Guidance issued in 2004 recommended eligible couples should receive up to three full cycles of treatment'.

'It is high time that PCTs realised the impact infertility has on patients. In particular those patients who are currently in the process of being referred will be devastated to learn that they will not now be eligible for treatment, and yet if they lived elsewhere, their PCT would fund their treatment'.

'This is completely unfair and we would urge Warrington PCT to reconsider this decision. They have already stated that IVF is only provided to a limited number of couples - the cost benefits to the PCT of scrapping this funding are well outweighed by the distress this will cause those patients'.

The panel will meet again in to July 2011 reconsider the decision.

Charity angry at Warrington IVF funding cut
Warrington Guardian |  19 August 2010
NHS Warrington in IVF funding cut
This is Cheshire |  19 August 2010
23 May 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
NHS South West Essex has reinstated funding for IVF seven months after suspending the service. The move comes after the PCT reduced running costs by £400,000 last year to financially break even...
4 April 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
Couples struggling to conceive face more disappointment as NHS North Yorkshire and York joins a growing number of trusts restricting access to IVF after it decided to suspend funding for assisted conception services, save for those who demonstrate a 'clinical exception'....
14 March 2011 - by Sujatha Jayakody 
West Cheshire will decide this month whether to become the latest region to suspend NHS-funded IVF treatment. The West Cheshire Health Consortium, which is made up of 38 GP practices, claims it needs to cut IVF to deliver healthcare to its aging population...
7 February 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
A couple from Dorset expecting to receive two cycles of IVF on the NHS has spoke out against the trust after being told they could have access to only one....
13 December 2010 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
NHS Medway in Kent, South East England, has joined several other trusts in suspending funding for new referrals for IVF treatment until the new financial year when the decision will be reviewed....
9 August 2010 - by Gozde Zorlu 
Isle of Man couples wishing to undergo IVF will only have funds to complete one cycle of treatment following a review of fertility care, the Manx government has announced...
1 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...
5 June 2010 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
Political consensus in Denmark has resulted in an amendment to legislation governing IVF funding. According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), free public health services will no longer extend towards assisted reproduction treatments (ART)....
22 February 2010 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
Sixty infertile couples protested on Canada's annual Family Day holiday against a lack of provincial government funding for IVF treatment. The February rally was organised by the group Conceivable Dreams, which represents 1,100 infertile couples who say they are suffering because the government refuses to help them....
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