"My husband and I were referred ..."

About: Queen's Hospital, Burton Upon Trent

(as the patient),

What could be improved

My husband and I were referred to the Burton Centre for Reproductive Medicine due to fertility problems. It took over 5 months from referral by my GP for tests to be performed diagnosing my husband's fertility problem and for a course of treatment to be determined. I had a blood test for hormone levels but this test was performed at the wrong time of the month so was pointless. When I asked whether they would be performing further tests on me I was advised that this would not be necessary because the treatment (ICSI) would be the same. However, my husband and I have sought treatment elsewhere and I have had tests which have confirmed that I have a condition (hydrosalpinx) which means that, if I did get pregnant, I would have a very high chance of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. I therefore need surgery before fertility treatment can start. We only get one NHS funded cycle and I believe that, if we had continued our treatment at Burton, their failure to carry out tests on me would have rendered the treatment unsuccessful.

We were disappointed that we were misled about the chances of success at the Burton treatment centre. The nurse quoted the national success rate rather than the treatment centre's success rate (which is less than the national average). We were not informed that we had a choice of one of six treatment centres at any stage - we found this out for ourselves. We actually had the choice of treatment at a centre which has double the success rate of Burton Hospital. Finally, we found that the treatment centre was very inefficient. For example, rather than give us forms to complete during one of our hospital appointments we had to wait several weeks for them to arrive by post. I believe that the whole process is very protracted. The number of stages is excessive as is the waiting time between every stage. Surely these could be reduced, particularly as infertility is a time sensitive issue.

At no point were we told that

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Response from Queen's Hospital, Burton Upon Trent

We are sorry that you were not satisfied with your experience of the Burton Centre for Reproductive Medicine and would welcome the opportunity to address your concerns with you.

In general we would say that all patients referred to the Burton Centre for Reproductive Medicine from their GP are scheduled for first appointment within 5 weeks, in line with the 18 week care pathway obligation.

Success rates are dependent on multiple factors. The Burton Centre for Reproductive Medicine produces both its own and national data for patient information. The centre's annual success rate is consistently equal to or above the national average. A patient whose condition, age or previous history dictates that they will not achieve the average success rate is routinely counselled to this effect and their own realistic chance of success provided.

Patients are advised that they are eligible for treatment at a range of centres within their PCT funding area. All patients are routinely referred to a centre of their choice where they do not wish to continue care at the BCRM.

Forms for patients to complete and return to enable treatment processing is timed to enable priority processing so that all patients are able to commence treatment within the 18 week target. We have checked our data and can find no incidents of breach recorded.

If you would like to discuss the points you have raised more fully please contact our PALS and Complaints office on 01283 511511 ext 3112.

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