GHP January 2016

10 | ghp January 2016 Innovative Treatment in Action Investment of more than £18 million by the Scottish Government means that for the second consecutive quarter (ending September 2015), 100% of patients waiting for IVF treatment in Scotland were seen within 12 months, so the target was delivered ahead of schedule in March. Staff at Edinburgh Fertility Reproductive Endocrine Centre (EFREC) demonstrated the EmbryoScope installed there in 2014. The Scottish Government provided funding for all four NHS Assisted Concep- tion Units to purchase EmbryoScopes which allow Embryologists to select the ‘best’ single embryo for implantation, which reduces the chance of multiple pregnancies and is likely to increase pregnancy rates. The funding was part of Scottish Government investment of more than £12 million over three financial years to 2014/15, targeted to reduce IVF waiting times. To ensure waiting times remain at 12 months or less, a further £6 million has been allocated to IVF funding in 2015/16. Public Health Minister Maureen Watt paid a visit to NHS Lothian’s Assisted Conception Unit to see the technology at work and said: “Scotland is leading the way in the provision of NHS IVF treatment and I am delighted to see first-hand some of the amazing work being done in this field. “It’s quite fascinating to watch the EmbryoScope being used to select the best embryo for treat- ment, which potentially increases the chance of successful treatment for couples who need fertility treatment. “The implementation and early achievement of this target was fantastic, but to reach 100 per cent for two consecutive quarters is truly to be celebrated. “Our £18 million investment has had a dramatic effect, with patients from all 14 NHS Boards starting treatment in one of the four NHS IVF centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, within 12 months. “The additional funding this year means that we can continue to meet our waiting times targets and give patients in Scotland access to a more generous and fairer service than elsewhere in the UK.” Reducing waiting times for IVF patients has potential to improve the chances of a successful outcome. The Scottish Government determined that the IVF waiting times target should be delivered for at least 90% of patients from 1 April 2015, as for some it may not be clinically appropriate for treat- ment to begin within 12 months. The Scottish Government’s National Infertility group has reconvened to consider increasing the number of cycles offered from two to three; and current recommendations concerning couples who already have a child in the home. A report is expected to be released in early 2016. The latest waiting times figures can be found here: © Crown copyright Turning the spotlight on to Scotland, in late November Public Health Minister visited the Assisted Conception Unit in Edin- burgh where innovative technology is delivering improvements for women receiving IVF treatment in Scotland. news