IVF cancelled in Warrington

IVF treatment for couples in Warrington has been withdrawn.

The primary care trust NHS Warrington has made the decision this week as they look at all the services they provide to see if they are sending money in the right places.

Dr Andrew Davies, Chair of the NHS Warrington Clinical Leadership Team, told Heart: "The decision to suspend IVF funding was an extremely difficult one, and we do appreciate that it will have caused considerable distress for some couples.  This is a hugely sensitive area and we do understand the emotional stress that infertility can cause.

"Throughout the country, not just in Warrington, we are faced with really difficult dilemmas.  We simply cannot afford the level of healthcare that we would like to make available to everyone through the NHS.  

"We are also dealing with widespread health issues linked to lifestyle choices, along with increasing demands for more sophisticated and expensive treatments.

"In Warrington we have put in place a detailed process, including doctors and representatives of patients and the public, through which we are reviewing all our services.  We are looking at the most modern and effective kinds of treatments which we could introduce; we are going through our referral systems to make sure that we aren't wasting any money as patients progress from GP to further treatment; and we are examining all our services to make sure they meet our key
priorities and are cost-effective.

"Local people helped us set these priorities and I believe they are the right ones.  We want to improve healthy life expectancy and reduce inequalities; we want to help people sooner, to stop them developing more serious illnesses; we want to make sure that people's experience of health services is a good one, and we must maintain a sustainable financial balance. Unfortunately IVF does not meet these criteria.

"We are still committed to supporting local people who have fertility problems - this decision only affects IVF, and will be reviewed in July next year. It will not affect any other areas of infertility treatment available through the NHS and investigations for infertility will continue as normal".