Bolton couple considered moving house to get IVF treatment in 'postcode lottery'

Bolton couple considered moving house to get IVF treatment in 'postcode lottery'

Claire and Phillip Bond with little Daniel

Daniel was born after a second attempt at IVF treatment

A young Claire, hugging her doll, has always wanted a baby

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

AFTER eight years trying to conceive and one failed IVF attempt, Claire and Phillip Bond were near breaking point.

Approaching the age of 40, Mrs Bond’s lifelong dream of having a child was fading fast and the only reason the couple were given for their inability to conceive was “unexplained infertility”.

The Bolton News reported the couple’s joy at giving birth to their son, Daniel, on Christmas Day, but their dreams only came true thanks to help from their families to fund their second IVF attempt.

Guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends that up to three IVF cycles should be available on the NHS if the woman is aged between 23 and 39 at the time of treatment, and one or both partners has been diagnosed with a fertility problem.

In other boroughs, such as Bury and Chorley, couples get the recommended three, but in Bolton they only get one. Mr and Mrs Bond were so desperate to have a child, they even considered moving house.

Mrs Bond, aged 39, said: “We first started to try for a baby after we got married in June, 2006, but when that didn’t work, we went down the IVF route.

“It is a postcode lottery, which was really frustrating for us.”

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Before Mrs Bond got married, she prepared for motherhood by losing five stone, dropping from a size 22 to a size 12.

She said: “You get married and just assume that you get pregnant straight away. I had numerous tests and fertility treatment and all they could tell me was that I had unexplained infertility.

“I’ve always wanted to be a mother, so it was horrific when the first IVF treatment didn’t work — for Phil too.

“We were lucky that our parents helped us financially for our second attempt.”

Mrs Bond, a medical secretary, went to see a private midwife in London to check that her body was at its best to conceive before having her treatment at The Beaumont Hospital.

She added: “I was told I had an underactive thyroid and a vitamin D deficiency and we were advised to see a thyroid specialist before we began the second IVF attempt.

“He was marvellous — he constantly monitored my levels throughout and put my mind at rest. I went to the gym and a bit of a detox to make sure I was at my healthiest. I was finally ready for the second attempt in March last year.”

Mrs Bond says that when she found out she was pregnant, it was “life changing”.

She added: “Pregnancy was amazing. I loved every minute of it and was surprised that I didn’t have complications despite my age. Christmas will always be an extra special time for us now that Daniel is here. He was worth the wait.”

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, explaining Bolton’s IVF policy, said: “The provision of IVF treatment by the NHS varies between different areas because policies are decided locally.

“All clinical commissioning groups must identify the priorities for the health of their local population and decide how they will spend the public money allocated to them.

“NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) targets its resources on improving health and reducing inequalities.

“This is an important issue for Bolton because life expectancy is two years lower here than the England average, and this gap is much wider in some areas of the borough.

“Prioritising health needs in this way is very difficult, but it is essential that the CCG manages the costs of healthcare.”

l Last summer Bolton CCG extended its offer of providing one cycle of IVF to women aged 40 to 42, in line with other areas in Greater Manchester.

Comments (3)

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11:17am Sat 11 Jan 14

Puffin-Billy says...

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“All clinical commissioning groups must identify the priorities for the health of their local population and decide how they will spend the public money allocated to them.

“NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) targets its resources on improving health and reducing inequalities.

“Prioritising health needs in this way is very difficult, but it is essential that the CCG manages the costs of healthcare.”

WHY WHY WHY SHOULD CCGs have to prioritise whose health they will look after - we all pay our taxes to fund the NHS don't we?

Oh yes of course, I forgot ---the poor pay proportionately more than the wealthy, but we can't tax the wealthy more because the government will lose votes.

The reality is that the NHS is under financial strain because of the cuts of £20 BILLION being imposed on it on the advice of a consultancy firm McKinsey.

This governments policies are increasing the "inequalities" which Dr. Whirin Bhatiani speaks of.

Senior Citizens are now being told by organisations such as N.I.C.E. that they are going to be denied drugs because they are a burden on the NHS because they do not contribute to society.

That is a Fascist and evil ideology worthy only of NAZI Germany.

When are GPs and clinicians going to speak out against this government's cruel, greedy and materialistic destruction of our NHS, which is being brought about on behalf of the private health companies and drugs companies.

Will you speak out Dr. Bhatiani....or are you in on it ?
Here below is the voice of one GP who did speak out.


"It's been an amazing privilege working as a family doctor. I am trusted with the long-term care and health of sometimes four generations, and I have tried to help with their most intimate and complex problems, sometimes shared only with me. It's the best job in medicine, and the NHS was the best place to practice.

So why am I retiring early? Because for several years I've fought the dismantling of the founding principles of Bevan's NHS and on 1 April I lost. That was the day the main provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into effect. On Wednesday night, a last-gasp attempt in the House of Lords to annul the part pushing competitive tendering sadly failed.

The democratic and legal basis of the English NHS and the secretary of state's duty to provide comprehensive health services have now gone, and the framework that allows for wholesale privatisation of the planning, organisation, supply, finance and distribution of our health care is now in place. Since 1948, we GPs have been our patient's advocate, championing the care we judge is needed clinically.

Everyone necessary for that care co-operated for the good of the patient – they didn't compete for the benefit of shareholders. Sadly, patients are now right to be suspicious of motives concerning decisions made about them, which until recently, almost uniquely in the world, have been purely in their best clinical interest. Most politicians understand little about general practice, have no idea about the importance of continuity of care and blame GPs for a rise in hospital work, even though this is a direct result of their policies.

I believe patient choice is an illusion as I am restricted in terms of where I can refer and what treatments I can use. GPs are now expected to collude with rationing, are sent incomprehensible financial spreadsheets telling us our "activity levels" are too high and in some areas are prevented from speaking out about this, despite the government's weasel words about duty of candour after Mid Staffs. Practices are already being solicited by private companies touting for business, often connected to members of my own profession. But the lie that GPs are now in control of the money will soon be exposed. Most services are to go out to tender, which will paralyse decision-making.

Now your doctor, the hospital, your specialist or the employing company has a financial incentive built into the clinical decision-making – even whether or not you are seen at all. Your referral may be to a related company, with both profiting from your care – so was that operation, procedure or investigation really in your best clinical interest? Or you may be told a service is now no longer available. The jargon used is that "we are not commissioned for that". But you can pay. The elephant in the consulting room is the ethical implication of private medicine. In my 30 years as an NHS GP, some of the most disastrously treated patients are those who elected for private care. Decisions were made about them for the wrong reasons, namely profit. Patients are rarely aware of this.

The politicians who drive this unnecessary revolution claim the NHS is not being privatised because it is still free at the point of use. This is duplicitous as the two are not connected. They are ignorant or dismissive of the founding principles of the NHS which include it being universal and comprehensive – both of which have gone. The NHS logo appears on all sorts of private company buildings and notepaper which is one reason patients haven't noticed the change yet. Just leaving "free at the point of use" under an NHS kitemark doesn't constitute a national health service. It's now one small step to insurance companies picking up the bill (but obviously profiting from it) rather than the state. An Americanised system run by many US companies. The end of a "60-year-old mistake", as Jeremy Hunt once co-authored.

I am proud to have been an NHS GP. I believe the way a society delivers its healthcare defines the values and nature of that society. In the US, healthcare is not primarily about looking after the nation's health but a huge multi-company, money-making machine which makes some people extremely rich but neglects millions of its citizens. We are being dragged into that machine and I want no part in it.

The politicians responsible for this must live with their consciences, as it is the greatest failure of democracy in my lifetime."
Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “All clinical commissioning groups must identify the priorities for the health of their local population and decide how they will spend the public money allocated to them. “NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) targets its resources on improving health and reducing inequalities. “Prioritising health needs in this way is very difficult, but it is essential that the CCG manages the costs of healthcare.” WHY WHY WHY SHOULD CCGs have to prioritise whose health they will look after - we all pay our taxes to fund the NHS don't we? Oh yes of course, I forgot ---the poor pay proportionately more than the wealthy, but we can't tax the wealthy more because the government will lose votes. The reality is that the NHS is under financial strain because of the cuts of £20 BILLION being imposed on it on the advice of a consultancy firm McKinsey. This governments policies are increasing the "inequalities" which Dr. Whirin Bhatiani speaks of. Senior Citizens are now being told by organisations such as N.I.C.E. that they are going to be denied drugs because they are a burden on the NHS because they do not contribute to society. That is a Fascist and evil ideology worthy only of NAZI Germany. When are GPs and clinicians going to speak out against this government's cruel, greedy and materialistic destruction of our NHS, which is being brought about on behalf of the private health companies and drugs companies. Will you speak out Dr. Bhatiani....or are you in on it ? Here below is the voice of one GP who did speak out. "It's been an amazing privilege working as a family doctor. I am trusted with the long-term care and health of sometimes four generations, and I have tried to help with their most intimate and complex problems, sometimes shared only with me. It's the best job in medicine, and the NHS was the best place to practice. So why am I retiring early? Because for several years I've fought the dismantling of the founding principles of Bevan's NHS and on 1 April I lost. That was the day the main provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into effect. On Wednesday night, a last-gasp attempt in the House of Lords to annul the part pushing competitive tendering sadly failed. The democratic and legal basis of the English NHS and the secretary of state's duty to provide comprehensive health services have now gone, and the framework that allows for wholesale privatisation of the planning, organisation, supply, finance and distribution of our health care is now in place. Since 1948, we GPs have been our patient's advocate, championing the care we judge is needed clinically. Everyone necessary for that care co-operated for the good of the patient – they didn't compete for the benefit of shareholders. Sadly, patients are now right to be suspicious of motives concerning decisions made about them, which until recently, almost uniquely in the world, have been purely in their best clinical interest. Most politicians understand little about general practice, have no idea about the importance of continuity of care and blame GPs for a rise in hospital work, even though this is a direct result of their policies. I believe patient choice is an illusion as I am restricted in terms of where I can refer and what treatments I can use. GPs are now expected to collude with rationing, are sent incomprehensible financial spreadsheets telling us our "activity levels" are too high and in some areas are prevented from speaking out about this, despite the government's weasel words about duty of candour after Mid Staffs. Practices are already being solicited by private companies touting for business, often connected to members of my own profession. But the lie that GPs are now in control of the money will soon be exposed. Most services are to go out to tender, which will paralyse decision-making. Now your doctor, the hospital, your specialist or the employing company has a financial incentive built into the clinical decision-making – even whether or not you are seen at all. Your referral may be to a related company, with both profiting from your care – so was that operation, procedure or investigation really in your best clinical interest? Or you may be told a service is now no longer available. The jargon used is that "we are not commissioned for that". But you can pay. The elephant in the consulting room is the ethical implication of private medicine. In my 30 years as an NHS GP, some of the most disastrously treated patients are those who elected for private care. Decisions were made about them for the wrong reasons, namely profit. Patients are rarely aware of this. The politicians who drive this unnecessary revolution claim the NHS is not being privatised because it is still free at the point of use. This is duplicitous as the two are not connected. They are ignorant or dismissive of the founding principles of the NHS which include it being universal and comprehensive – both of which have gone. The NHS logo appears on all sorts of private company buildings and notepaper which is one reason patients haven't noticed the change yet. Just leaving "free at the point of use" under an NHS kitemark doesn't constitute a national health service. It's now one small step to insurance companies picking up the bill (but obviously profiting from it) rather than the state. An Americanised system run by many US companies. The end of a "60-year-old mistake", as Jeremy Hunt once co-authored. I am proud to have been an NHS GP. I believe the way a society delivers its healthcare defines the values and nature of that society. In the US, healthcare is not primarily about looking after the nation's health but a huge multi-company, money-making machine which makes some people extremely rich but neglects millions of its citizens. We are being dragged into that machine and I want no part in it. The politicians responsible for this must live with their consciences, as it is the greatest failure of democracy in my lifetime." Puffin-Billy
  • Score: 3

3:55pm Sat 11 Jan 14

oftbewildered2 says...

I accept that Senior citizens are seen as no longer contributing financially to society (although I do pay income tax, as do many others) =but remember it was their generation who were in on the NHS at its beginning, they have worked hard and long for more than 50 years, paid taxes and national insurance, helped pay off the WW2 debt in which conflict their fathers fought and helped get this country back on its feet after that conflict, so I consider they have done their fair share in contributing to society, and have been fortunate to have been able to do so.
I accept that Senior citizens are seen as no longer contributing financially to society (although I do pay income tax, as do many others) =but remember it was their generation who were in on the NHS at its beginning, they have worked hard and long for more than 50 years, paid taxes and national insurance, helped pay off the WW2 debt in which conflict their fathers fought and helped get this country back on its feet after that conflict, so I consider they have done their fair share in contributing to society, and have been fortunate to have been able to do so. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 4

7:47pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Citizen Cane says...

Are these the same pensioners who have bequeathed a record £1.3 trillon of national debt for subsequent generations to pay off?
Are these the same pensioners who have bequeathed a record £1.3 trillon of national debt for subsequent generations to pay off? Citizen Cane
  • Score: -1

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