Thousands denied IVF12th January 2012
NHS trusts are cutting IVF treatment by up to 60% in a bid to save money under the current economic climate, it has emerged.
The move could mean that thousands of women are being denied fertility treatment.
Figures, revealed under a Freedom of Information request by Pulse magazine, show that the average number of IVF cycles provided on the NHS so far this financial year is down 14% on the previous year.
It comes at a time when the NHS is being required to make £20bn over the next three years but with demand for IVF having risen by 30% between 2006 and 2010.
Current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance states that all eligible women should receive three full cycles.
The British Medical Association has also warned that availability of IVF on the NHS is likely to fall.
Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP committee, said: “There continues to be a demand for IVF from couples, but there’s a mismatch between patients’ expectations and resources available.”
Figures show that trusts are cutting back: NHS Warrington, for example, has funded seven requests for IVF in the first six months of 2011/12 compared with 79 last year and NHS Stoke-on-Trent funded 27 requests in the first nine months of the year, compared with 80 in 2010/11.
Pulse editor Richard Hoey said: “NHS managers in some areas seem to be taking a clear policy decision to downgrade IVF as a priority because it does not cause people physical harm.”
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