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Reaction: NICE’s updated fertility guideline

Read the original Pulse story here: NICE widens access to IVF to women over 40

‘The area of reproductive medicine has advanced hugely over the past decade since the last guidelines were issued. This update reflects these changes and makes sure that healthcare professionals have treatment information based on the best evidence currently available.’

‘However, it is now almost ten years since NICE first published guidelines on fertility treatment and we are still in the untenable position that the majority of primary care trusts have not fully implemented these and patients in many areas of the country are unable to access treatment.’

Dr Sue Avery, British Fertility Society spokesperson


‘We know CCGs are going live with an unprecedented level of efficiency savings through the Nicholson challenge and QIPP. If the Government wishes to see NICE guidelines implemented as part of national policy they will need to look at at topping up CCGs’ budgets. CCGs cannot square this impossible financial circle and magically provide expanded services.’

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator


‘The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority welcomes the revised fertility guideline published by NICE today. Since the 2004 fertility guideline, there have been advancements in the management of infertility and our understanding of the risks associated with fertility treatment. This knowledge underpins the new guideline, translating into better clinical care for patients.’

Provision of fertility treatment on the NHS varies across the country. In England different primary care trusts have differing levels of provision and different eligibility criteria. We hope that the new clinical commissioning groups to be established in April will ensure that the guideline is fairly and appropriately implemented.’

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority


‘If there is enough resource within the system of course one welcomes it. One has to be very careful because we don’t live in a world of expansion, we live in a world of contracting resources. Prioritising one treatment directly takes money away from other areas.’

‘There are different types of NICE guidelines. Everything is based on evidence as interpreted by NICE and this is used by CCGs to assess priorities. So CCGs have to assess NICE guidance, but it does not mean CCGs have to implement what NICE says. People are going to have reasons why they’re not going to do it based upon their population’s needs.’

Dr Charles Alessi, NAPC chair and interim chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners


‘NICE clinical guidelines demonstrate the level of care to which the NHS should aspire. Although the NHS is not legally obliged to follow NICE clinical guidelines, they are considered to be best practice because recommendations are based on the best available evidence. The new guideline gives hope to more infertility sufferers – but it is pointless if the recommendations are not put into practice’.

Clare Lewis-Jones, chief executive of Infertility Network UK


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