NHS Warrington Goes Against National Guidance
A Cheshire primary care trust (PCT) has gone against national guidance and ended its funding of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment in a bid to save money.
Three cycles of IVF treatment should be made available to patients through the NHS in England and Wales, according to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which are supported by the Government.
Despite this NHS Warrington has said that it will stop providing the service.
Patients already waiting for the treatment will be eligible for one round of IVF or if they have already undergone a procedure they will be entitled to one more.
New IVF referrals will only be accepted if a GP believes there is an "exceptional clinical need".
The suspension of IVF services at the PCT was necessary to maintain "financial stability", according to its clinical leadership team chair, Andrew Davies.
The suspension of services will be reviewed in July next year.
Dr Davies said that the decision is part of a health service review to determine whether they utilise NHS resources fully and whether they are meeting agreed health targets for the local area.
The move was described as disappointing by the chair of the British Fertility Society Tony Rutherford.
He said: "This is a retrograde step, out of keeping with all messages coming from central Government, and shows scant regard for the needs of one in six couples who suffer infertility."
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Commenting on the case, Yogi Amin from the Public Law team at Irwin Mitchell said: “Such public cuts go against the principle that the doctor should decide on the treatment that individual patients need and are entitled to. Blanket cost cutting decisions could be legally challenged."
Legal experts from Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team have helped a number of people win their battles for justice against NHS Trust decisions, including the case of Ann Marie Rogers who was initially denied treatment with the breast cancer drug Herceptin before winning a high profile court case in 2006.