‘Ideologically driven’ IVF changes have resulted in needlessly long waits for Welsh couples and a government apology should be followed by ‘swift and guaranteed improvements’.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies AM, has highlighted the significant problems in IVF waiting lists during First Minister’s Questions and called for guarantees from Carwyn Jones.
An IVF clinic at Neath Port Talbot Hospital – scheduled to begin seeing patients in April – remains in limbo as it is yet to receive a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
1.7 million pounds has been spent on the unit, which replaces Welsh Government-funded access to services at the independent London Women’s clinic in Swansea.
During a period where neither service has been properly available, the number of patients referred to England by Cardiff and Vale Health Board has increased by 7,400 per cent (between 2010 and 2012) at a cost of over half a million pounds.
Speaking to BBC Wales earlier this year, fertility expert Peter Bowen-Simpkins, Medical Director at the London Women’s clinic, said: “I feel very strongly that the Welsh assembly [government] made a decision that has actually produced a waiting list which is about two years whereas before it was about six weeks.”
Welsh Conservative Leader and South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, said:
“It is clear that ideologically driven changes have left local IVF services on pause and couples in limbo.
“An inexplicable decision to stop funding an independent clinic has only resulted in soaring costs and expensive referrals to England.
“If Carwyn Jones was determined to spend bucket loads of public money duplicating services already available, he should’ve at least got it right.
“IVF treatment is time sensitive and the huge increase in waiting times may have robbed parents of the greatest gift of all - that of having children.
“Huge delays in the new site are completely unacceptable and patients deserve an apology, an explanation, and swift and guaranteed improvements.”