Following the issue of its interim report in August 2008, and the publication of a commissioning aid in June 2009, the final report of the independent expert group on Commissioning NHS Infertility Provision (the report) can be accessed here.
The group’s remit was to identify the barriers to the implementation of the NICE fertility guideline (CG11), published in 2004, and to produce a commissioning aid for PCTs to encourage gradual progression towards full implementation. The report confirms progress in the following key areas:
- A national tariff is being developed by the Department of Health for regulated fertility services and is scheduled for introduction in 2012.
- In the interim, the national tariff working group will be gathering and sharing (on an anonymised basis) between PCTs information on current tariffs and prices to help PCTs assess whether the prices they are paying locally are a fair reflection of the national pattern.
- The department has commissioned research, to be shared with commissioners, to ascertain how fertility treatment patients themselves would prioritise improvements in the provision of services.
- The fertility patient support group, Infertility Network UK, has received further funding from the department for their work with PCTs to encourage awareness of infertility issues and to offer assistance to commissioners.
In the meantime, commissioners will no doubt eagerly await the results of the review of CG11 which was scheduled to get underway this year.