Not singled out for limited treatment

AS DIRECTOR of public health for North Somerset, I would like to comment on your correspondent's article on our policy in regard to fertility treatment (National IVF Advice is flouted locally; Weston Mercury, August 13).

AS DIRECTOR of public health for North Somerset, I would like to comment on your correspondent's article on our policy in regard to fertility treatment (National IVF Advice is flouted locally; Weston Mercury, August 13).

Contrary to your editorial leader, couples living in North Somerset are not singled out for limited treatment because of where they happen to live.

NHS North Somerset is only one among many Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which, in attempting to provide IVF for the increasing number of couples seeking it, have not been able to move as quickly as it would like to meeting the level of access recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The survey to which your article refers identified that more than 80 per cent of PCTs are in a similar position to us, and are not yet able to offer the recommended three cycles.


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The survey identified a small number of PCTs which did not offer IVF at all, and the offering of only one cycle was common practice.

We are keenly aware of the need to provide couples with the fertility treatment they seek and deserve. However, in common with much of the NHS throughout the UK, we are facing a growing waiting list of people who want fertility treatment.

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Our decision to offer one, as opposed to three IVF cycles, has allowed us to offer this chance to many more couples than previously, and ensure that access to the treatment was provided in a fair and equitable fashion.

Despite our deep sympathy for couples struggling with the problems of infertility, this situation is widespread nationally, and the challenges faced by people locally are replicated throughout the country.

We are committed to working to increase the number of treatments available to each couple and moving towards full compliance with the NICE guidelines.

DR MAX KAMMERLING

Director of public health and health improvement

Old Church Road

Clevedon

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