Thursday, 6 August 2009

Shapps highlights IVF postcode lottery

Grant Shapps has called on the Government to end the postcode lottery around the provision of IVF treatment.

A new report from the Conservatives reveals that more than eight out of ten Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are not offering the full three cycles of IVF treatment as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

And there are also widespread variations between regions:

  • In the East Midlands, all PCTs will offer just one full cycle of treatment. In London, 39% offer one cycle per couple, 26% will provide two and a further 26% fund the full three cycles.
  • One in every right PCTs fail to comply with NICE guidelines about the age of the female partner – meaning a woman could be too old for treatment in one area but too young in another.
  • In the East Midlands, no PCT said they’d offer treatment to couples in which one partner already has a child – whereas 70% of North East PCTs would provide treatment.

Grant said that IVF “remains a postcode lottery” in this country – and stressed:

“This new research reveals that in 8 out of 10 areas couples will not receive the cycles of IVF recommended by Ministers. Budgets are tight and the NHS must set its priorities, but it is wrong to raise expectations in couples who are desperate to start a family only for them to find out later that they won’t get the real help they expected.”

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