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Scottish Conservatives promise to end IVF 'postcode lottery'

18 April 2011
Appeared in BioNews 604

The Scottish Conservatives have revealed that one of their main priorities is improving access to fertility treatment on Scotland's NHS. The party plans to set up a £5 million fund to help patients seeking treatment should they be elected into power. According to the Scotsman, the party hopes to end the unreliable service for couples seeking IVF treatment north of the border.

The proposals were unveiled as one of the top priorities of the party's manifesto as part of a 'family-friendly' package to win over voters before the 2011 elections. The party plans to pay for these services by reintroducing prescription charges for those not receiving benefits.

It is estimated that more than one in six Scottish couples have difficulty in conceiving. A freedom of information request in 2010 revealed that, since 2007, 78 percent of NHS Lothian fertility patients and 43 percent of Tayside patients were funding the treatment themselves.

Last year independent support group Infertility Network Scotland published a survey that showed that the waiting time for fertility treatment for NHS patients in Lothian was three years, whereas in Lanarkshire couples have to wait only six months. The group described getting IVF treatment on the NHS as a 'postcode lottery'.

'IVF may be the only source of hope to many couples wanting to start a family', Annabel Goldie MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said. 'It has to be at the heart of our NHS and the Scottish Conservatives want to be sure that all couples, regardless of where they live, have access to that care and advice'.

Tories unveil £5m plan to wipe out IVF postcode lottery
Scotsman |  4 April 2011
20 May 2013 - by Ruth Retassie 
The Scottish government has approved criteria which include new restrictions on access to state-funded IVF but which also aim to end the 'postcode lottery' faced by many couples with fertility problems...
8 August 2011 - by Dr Anna Smajdor 
In 2007, the world's media reported - with various degrees of shock and disapproval - on a Big Brother-style TV programme being created in Holland. This was Big Brother with a bizarre twist: instead of a cash prize and a moment of minor celebrity, the winner would get ... a kidney. Fast forward to 2011. A similar media outcry has been provoked by the announcement by fertility charity To Hatch of a lottery where the prize is - not cash; not a kidney, but... fertility treatment...
13 June 2011 - by Toby Stead 
A recent report by UK politicians has found widespread inconsistencies in the provision of fertility treatment by the NHS...
23 May 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
UK military personnel who have sustained injuries affecting their fertility will receive three free cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS. This forms part of the Military Covenant, which is soon to be brought into law...
21 March 2011 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
A recent survey has found that two thirds of women would consider moving to another area of the UK to access IVF on the NHS....
14 February 2011 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
Public health minister Anne Milton has said NHS Primary Care Trust's should follow existing guidelines and offer three cycles of IVF to eligible couples....
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?...
13 December 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
UK health minister Andrew Lansley has expressed concern over the temporary suspension of IVF treatment by several NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across the country due to financial strain....
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...
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