Bristol

Bristol IVF centre's treatment to be transferred to new provider

Southmead Hospital Bristol
Image caption The Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Southmead Hospital has provided fertility treatment to couples since 2008

Fertility services at Southmead Hospital in Bristol are to be transferred to a new provider, the NHS has confirmed.

North Bristol NHS Trust says the change is due to an increase in couples seeking self-funded IVF treatment.

It says the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine will continue to provide services until November, and NHS-funded patients will be unaffected.

A consultation into the changes will run until 30 June.

A spokesman for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs denied claims in the local media that the move would mean patients could be forced to travel outside the region.

He said: "The proposed location of services will be taken into account when assessing bids by prospective providers as we would not want patients to travel any further than is necessary for treatment."

He added the process of assessing bids was under way and the new provider could be in place from December.

North Bristol NHS Trust said the decision had been made to focus on "acute NHS services", as there had been a reduction in the number of NHS-funded IVF patients it treated.

In a letter to patients, it said: "We want to reassure you that the continuity of care for our patients is of the greatest importance to us.

"As such, plans are in development to ensure that the transfer of care to a new provider or providers happens as smoothly as possible."

The Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Southmead Hospital has provided fertility treatment to couples since 2008.

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