I expect to stir up a hornets’ nest here.

There’s a bit of a brouhaha in the UK right now because of the plans being made by some of the Clinical Commissioning Groups. These guys replaced the Primary Care Trusts in a 2013 reshuffle that cost a lot of dosh. They’re now yet another level of quango burning NHS cash, and have the role of deciding where the pennies remaining after they’ve paid themselves are best spent at a regional level.

This is after NICE have already issued national guidelines. See what I mean about another level of quango?

Anyway, the anger (not outrage, people in the UK rarely get outraged other than in the pages of the Daily Mail) has been sparked by the decision of some CCGs to limit access to IVF for couples having trouble conceiving. Currently, they are routinely offered three cycles of treatment, as recommended by NICE, https://nobodysreadingme.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/how-to-squander-money-like-a-sailor-on-shore-leave/

but several CCGs limit this to one cycle, or are planning to bring in a limit.

I’ve always been uneasy about the people who pursue IVF. I’m not sure what their aim is, and it may sometimes just be a case of ‘I want a baby, and it’s my right the have help from the NHS.’ I question their motives in other words, in their relentless battle to have a child.

I can see a role for IVF if the intended parents are medically compromised. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can knock the stuffing out of reproductive health, and there may just be a reason to help these people. However, let’s go a bit deeper.

One cycle of IVF will cost you £5,000 at a private clinic. Three cycles is going to cost £15,000. I think that’s a lot of money to spend on people who aren’t in ill health. With that sort of cash the NHS could afford to replace my knees now, while I’m still young enough to enjoy the mobility, rather than insist I wait for the repair job until I’m of an age where I’ll die before the implants fail and have to be replaced. They’d still have some cash left over for the cancer drugs that NICE says are not cost-effective.

I’ll repeat. Couples undergoing the majority of IVF programmes are not unwell. They got handed a short straw in life, and perhaps they have to learn either to live with it, or shell out their own cash rather than exploiting an already struggling health service. Or adopt.

I can hear the howls of protest. ‘You have no idea of the heartbreak, the sadness, the sense of loss!’

Get back in your cage. I’m all too aware of it. I’ve been through it. I thought the stress might be enough to cause us to separate, but that didn’t happen. My wife and I decided that’s just the way it is, and got on with things.

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