26/03/2009

Fertility Treatment Gets Major Cash Boost

Extra funding for specialised fertility treatment is expected to lead to waiting times for NI patients to be cut dramatically.

Those due to begin IVF treatment will soon see a reduction from 18 months to one year maximum waiting, with the aim being to allow more than one 'cycle' of treatment as soon as funds become available.

NI Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey announced the £1.5million of extra funding annually for publicly funded fertility treatment.

This follows a one off investment of £800,000 in recent months to reduce waiting times.
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"Current funding has provided for over 400 cycles of treatment per year. However, demand has been well in excess of this figure," he said.

"The extra recurrent funding I am providing will ensure that, going forward, no-one who qualifies for publicly funded treatment will have a waiting time of longer than a year, and should allow a move towards increasing the number of cycles of treatment.

"The service will also move to one regional waiting list ensuring equality of access to all Northern Ireland residents," he said.

The Minister's announcement follows a review of the current criteria for publicly funded fertility treatment carried out by a group made up of clinicians, patient representatives and the Department.

(BMcC/JM)

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