11/04/2024

GP's To Now Provide Scalpel-Free Vasectomy Services

Health Minister, Robin Swann, has announced that GPs will now provide scalpel-free vasectomy services, as part of an initiative to relocate services for the benefit of patients.

The Minister has announced that vasectomy services in Northern Ireland will be transferred from secondary care to primary care, meaning that services will be provided by GPs, with the required funding moved out of Trust budgets on a permanent basis.

Minister Swann said: "My decision will ensure a more localised service for patients, and I am confident it will result in hundreds more procedures being provided in the first year alone.

"This innovation is a positive example of services being relocated for the benefit of patients – and with lower costs per procedure."

The decision will involve in the region of £450k-£500k per year being allocated to primary care.

It will take effect immediately, with a transition phase throughout 2024/25. From 2025/26 onwards, primary care will be the sole provider of health service vasectomy services.
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Scalpel-free vasectomies have been provided by GPs in recent years through the primary care elective care service. Funding, however, had been on a non-recurrent basis and was not provided for the second half of 2023/24 due to health service budgetary pressures. Vasectomy in secondary care is currently at low levels, resulting in around 1000 patients currently waiting for the procedure - reflecting the need for secondary care to focus attention on more complex and acute needs.

Welcoming the news Dr Joe Devlin, clinical director for the Primary Care Vasectomy Service, commented: "This is very positive news for primary care. We have been providing a high quality, easily accessible, cost-effective vasectomy service in primary care for several years now. The announcement by the Minister today provides long-term security for the future of the service, allowing us to plan more effectively to deliver and develop the service. It is a welcome vote of confidence in primary care that it can be the main provider of important services like this."


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