(2) what work has been undertaken between her Department and the Infertility Network UK to improve the extent of IVF treatment provision in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement;
(3) whether she intends to review the operation of the social access criteria in the provision of IVF treatment by primary care trusts; and if she will make a statement;
(4) how many primary care trusts in England will provide (a) one, (b) more than one and (c) no cycle of IVF treatment to patients meeting the criteria for treatment; and if she will make a statement;
(5) what recent estimate has been made of the effect of primary care trust deficits on the local provision of IVF treatment to eligible patients; and if she will make a statement;
(6) whether she plans to publish a written response to the recent findings of the Infertility Network UK questionnaire to primary care trusts; and if she will make a statement.
In welcoming the clinical guideline published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2004, we advised that the Department would be looking to primary care trusts (PCTs) who provided no in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment to meet a minimum level of one cycle of IVF by April 2005, and to make progress to the full implementation of the guideline in the longer term. We are funding the patient support organisation Infertility Network UK (I N UK) to help primary care trusts share best practice and engage with fertility patients in the planning and prioritisation of fertility services. The questionnaire issued to PCTs by I N UK will help to inform that work and we are discussing the findings with them. The primary responsibility for the provision of fertility services, including the application of social access criteria, rests with the national health service at local level and we have not collected data centrally. The need to restore financial balance has meant that a small number of primary care trusts have suspended the provision of IVF, and the reinstatement of the service is a matter for them, taking account of local circumstances.