Improve access to IVF, says RCN

PCTs should improve access to IVF and fund three full cycles of treatment, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Variations in IVF provision means not all PCTs offer the treatment to couples
Variations in IVF provision means not all PCTs offer the treatment to couples

The call comes as the College launches a new policy briefing on infertility provision in England.

Currently, just a third of PCTs offer three full cycles of treatment, despite NICE guidelines stating that all PCTs should offer three full cycles of treatment.

The briefing paper calls for at least three full treatment cycles to be made available to couples and for national non-clinical access criteria to be implemented to ensure equity and the end to practices where some PCTs restrict IVF.

The RCN is also calling for nurses to use their expertise in understanding the psychological impact of infertility and the pressures experienced by patients, to contribute to the commissioning process on a local level.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive, said: ‘IVF treatment is an important service offered by the NHS that offers hope to thousands of couples wanting to start a family.

‘We know progress has been made by PCTs to implement the NICE guidelines on fertility provision. However there are still staggering variations in the access criteria PCTs use in assessing who gets IVF as well as the availability of three full treatment cycles.

‘We call upon all PCTs to work with nurses to take the necessary steps to ensure that the NICE guidelines are fully implemented and to end this unfair treatment for many couples.'

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