By Richard Woolven, Trustee
As a trustee of the NGDT, I spend a lot of time thinking about how patients who need donated gametes might be unable to access fertility treatment because of a lack of donors. But I take for granted the fact that these people will get access to fertility treatment one way or another. That finding a donor is their ‘Big Problem’
Until recently Primary Care Trusts were making moves towards implementing the NICE guidelines of providing three full cycles of IVF to patients who need treatment on the NHS. It was still a hit and miss affair and the implementation depended very much on where you lived, but most PCTs were heading in the right direction.
Sadly the recent drive for ‘efficiency savings’ means that many PCTs have either ended or suspended IVF funding indefinitely and a lot of others are expected to follow suit soon.
Because IVF is an easy target. Infertile patients are not dying. At least, not on the outside. To the casual observer, there is nothing wrong with them, so why should we divert precious resources to people that ‘aren’t sick’
But that’s clearly not the full story is it?
So Cathy and I attended training on how to have the voice of infertility patients heard by decision makers. How to challenge the judgements of people who have no idea of what it means to need fertility treatment and no idea what the real impact of their decisions will be on people’s lives.
INUK is encouraging patients past and present to stand up to PCTs and is offering training on how to do so.
And, having completed the course, I pity anyone who tries to tell me, or the other eight people round that table, that these cuts are justified. Any one of us could now blow them out of the water and nail them to the wall.
I want the shortage of donors resolved, but I’m damned if they’ll do it by cutting access to treatment of people who have both a right and a need.