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Implanon set to be classified as IUCD national enhanced service

Payment for the insertion of the contraceptive implant Implanon is to increase following its adoption under the nationally enhanced service for inter-uterine contraceptive devices.

Implanon is regarded as a particularly reliable form of contraception, but GPs have been reluctant to use it as the costs involved in fitting it are often far higher than the amount they are reimbursed.

Now GPC negotiators are thrashing out final details of a deal to include Implanon as a nationally enhanced service under the new contract – and save GPs from having to negotiate enhanced services for the device.

GPC negotiator Dr Ham-ish Meldrum said the Government had agreed in principle that Implanon could be regarded as an IUCD but was struggling to agree on a 'realistic' price.

Dr John Ashcroft, PEC vice-chair of Erewash PCT in Derbyshire, said he had lobbied the GPC on the need for suitable remuneration for two years and that it was 'about time' GPs were suitably rewarded for using Implanon.

Dr Ashcroft said GPs were more likely to use Implanon if they were paid for it, especially as this would give the device more credence.

'I hope this will help reduce teenage pregnancy,' he said. 'It is a much better method than the Pill. An American study showed that if you put 100 15-year-olds on the Pill then five or six of them would be pregnant. If you used Implanon then none would be pregnant.'

Erewash PCT has funded a local development scheme for Implanon from April 2002, which since last month has become the basis of an LES.

Dr Meldrum said the new development would save GPs the trouble of negotiating local deals.

'Hopefully this will allow people who want to use it to get a realistic reward for their time and effort,' Dr Meldrum said.

Dr Ann McPherson, a member of the RCGP adolescent task group and Oxford GP, said although Implanon would not be her first choice of contraceptive for a young person it could be 'very useful'. She added: 'We need to be sure people are being reimbursed properly.'

lIn Erewash PCT the payment for providing and fitting an Implanon device is £155 under the LES while the price for removal is £40.

By Cato Pedder

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