North Somerset couples are being short-changed...
THE key principle of British healthcare is that it be freely available to all, regardless of wealth, race, religion… or location.
THE key principle of British healthcare is that it be freely available to all, regardless of wealth, race, religion... or location.
Today's news that couples in North Somerset are being denied the same level of access to fertility treatment as those elsewhere in the country flies in the face of this idea.
Here, people struggling to conceive a child only receive one third of the IVF assistance which is both recommended by the Government and made available to other families around the UK.
NHS North Somerset cites the need to reduce waiting lists for implementing this 'policy decision' - but in effect, couples are being short-changed through a postcode lottery.
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From the outside, IVF procedures may appear to be a less important aspect of medical care than treatments for ailments which present a direct and immediate health threat.
But choosing to have a child is a momentous decision for many, and it's difficult to overstate the impact of a failure to conceive.
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Couples in North Somerset who want a baby should not be discriminated against because of where they live.
Devolving decision-making within the NHS to a local level is a good idea on many levels, but when the result creates an imbalance of care access, a rethink is needed.
National bosses within the health service must install blanket policies on access to treatment which can be rolled out across the country to prevent such unfair situations from developing.
Otherwise, the core idea of equality will be lost - along with the chance of a happy family life for many North Somerset people.