NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?

Progress Educational Trust
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RG
16 April 2013
Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey and Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart
See other photographs of this event below

This public event was organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and was sponsored by the British Fertility Society.
An audio recording of the event can be listened to using the player below, or alternatively can be downloaded by clicking here (.mp3 38.6MB).
A synopsis of the event proceedings (by Antony Blackburn-Starza) can be found on PET's BioNews publication here.
In 2013, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its updated Clinical Guideline Fertility: Assessment and Treatment for People with Fertility Problems. NICE guidelines set standards for the NHS, Local Authorities and other healthcare providers, but adherence to these standards is not mandatory.
The provision of fertility services on the NHS has fallen short of the standards set by NICE's original 2004 fertility guideline. The updated guideline expands the range of people who may be eligible for NHS-funded treatment, giving hope to those who may previously have been denied treatment on grounds including age or having a same-sex partner. These hopes may be dashed, however, if the current provision of fertility treatment does not improve.
One of the most infamous problems with provision as it stands is the 'postcode lottery', whereby the availability of treatment and the criteria used to decide which patients are eligible vary widely across the country. The situation may be further complicated now that local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups have taken over from Primary Care Trusts, meaning that decisions about whether and to whom NHS-funded treatment is provided have been placed in the hands of GPs.
This event saw a panel of experts discuss the key changes that have been made to the NICE guideline and the current levels of access to treatment in England, as well as considering what the future holds for the provision of fertility treatment on the NHS.
Media coverage of the updated guideline focused on the increased age limit and the inclusion of lesbian couples in eligibility criteria - changes which are significant but qualified, and affect only a minority of people. Are there key changes in the updated guideline that have been overlooked or misconstrued?
Will fertility services become (even more) fragmented in the new commissioning regime? Or will regional variation in access to treatment be reduced, and made less capricious?
Will GPs make more coherent and reasonable funding decisions, by virtue of being more in touch with the needs of their local population? Or do they lack sufficient knowledge of infertility to make such decisions?
Now that the updated guideline has been published, what can be done going forward, to improve equity of access to fertility treatment?

  Speakers:
Dr Yacoub Khalaf
Director, Person Responsible of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust's Assisted Conception Unit, and Senior Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at King's College London
Dr James Kingsland
President of the National Association of Primary Care, and member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's Commissioning Steering Group
Peter Taylor
Member of the Guideline Development Group that oversaw the updating of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)'s Clinical Guideline Fertility: Assessment and Treatment for People with Fertility Problems

Dr Allan Pacey
Chair of the British Fertility Society, and Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield's Medical School

  Partners and supporters:
  British Fertility Society

Sarah Norcross speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Sarah Norcross
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr Yacoub Khalaf speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
At lectern: Dr Yacoub Khalaf
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr Yacoub Khalaf and Peter Taylor speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Dr Yacoub Khalaf (at lectern), Peter Taylor
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
At lectern: Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Peter Taylor
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
At lectern: Peter Taylor
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
At lectern: Peter Taylor
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey and Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey and Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Dr Allan Pacey and Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey and Dr James Kingsland speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf and Dr Allan Pacey speaking at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Left to right: Peter Taylor, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Dr Allan Pacey, Dr James Kingsland
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart

Audience at the Progress Educational Trust event 'NICE Try...But Is Anyone Listening?' (photograph by Dr Jane Stewart)
Photograph by Dr Jane Stewart