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IVF experience so far: NHS vs private = BIG difference

(10 Posts)
PegPeg Tue 24-Nov-15 13:05:24

We have been granted NHS funding for IVF and are keen to use it, seeing as the money is there waiting for us, rather than spending ££££s on private treatment...

However, we are having a very difficult time trying to actually use the NHS. It's been a total nightmare so far! They are in such a state of disarray, their admin is all over the place and we are constantly being dicked around and let down. This is even before we've had our initial NHS consultation! We were first held up by a wrongly dated letter, then referred to the wrong hospital (we weren't told until a day before our appointment and then had to wait another month to get an appointment at the correct hospital), then we tried TWICE to get our preliminary blood tests done, which apparently we need to get done before our consultation, but were twice turned away because the NHS's 'new and improved' admin systems can't process our details.... wasting time we'd booked off work, and delaying the whole process, causing us much distress and frustration.

In the meantime, we've spent £150 to have a private consultation so we could get on with having some of our burning questions answered, and they were absolutely amazing. We only had to wait a couple of weeks for an appointment, and their embryologist kindly saw us for a free, informal consultation in the meantime smile

Throughout this process so far - which began in July - we've only been able to get useful and timely information and be treated like human beings by paying for it.

My experience so far would suggest that whatever the clinical similarities between NHS and private, continuing with private treatment would take away so much of the stress... whereas with the NHS, you have the added emotional torment on top of everything else of being constantly dicked around because admin-wise, they don't seem to know what the hell they are doing. We've had to phone, chase and correct people, re-complete forms and tests we've already done, and be passed from pillar to post and it still feels like we're barely making progress.

Going private will basically make us poor, we will have to scrape the money together somehow and it's going to be financially quite crippling for us, which is the last thing you need when you're trying to start a family.... yet we've had a taste of how amazing and relatively stress-free their service is, and the vast difference between our private and our NHS experiences makes it very tempting...

I've heard that with the NHS, once you are 'in the system' properly, it all goes much more smoothly. But trying to get in the system in the first place is stressing us out so much! In the meantime, I'm not getting any younger...

Sorry for the rant, it helps to get it off my chest a bit...

BettyBi0 Thu 03-Dec-15 13:53:21

This kind of beaurocratic bs drove me mad too. We qualified for IVF on the NHS but the nominated hospital for our then PCT was such a shambles. I still feel quite resentful of the 18 months we wasted with them on tests and delays and an eventual crap "off the shelf" IVF cycle which gave me OHSS from their 'one size fits all' approach. Ugh it was a mess!

We went private and the difference was amazing. I was pregnant in just a few months after all that faffing around. Despite the private clinic wanting to repeat all the tests I'd had done on the NHS

Dioskouri Thu 03-Dec-15 14:02:54

I'm afraid that my experience (direct experience of two clinics and indirect experience of several others) is that the admin in private IVF clinics is pretty dire too. You get a lovely "please give us your money" first appointment, but then they're mostly a shambles.

PegPeg Mon 07-Dec-15 20:11:40

Finally after months of waiting I have my NHS consultation tomorrow morning. It feels like this has been such a long time coming... hopefully tomorrow we will finally have enough information to be able to proceed.

Wispin Thu 10-Dec-15 22:10:31

Hi everyone, I waited 3 yrs , I had all the tests done before being handed to the NHS , I had a choice of 3 hospitals, I choose the nearest one to me, The Nuffield in all our tests were done, all we had to wait for was my first experiences with the NHS has been really good...all the nurses were very helpful...they reassured me all along the way. I'm happy to say ive had a positive experience....

UnGoogleable Thu 10-Dec-15 23:09:10

I've been told I'm not eligible for IVF on the NHS, and to be honest it's a relief that I won't have to deal with the waiting lists, and the terrible admin.

I've had my fair share of being messed around throughout my infertility investigations on the NHS. The medical staff are wonderful. The admin staff - and the systems they have to work with - are what really let the NHS down. I have suffered lost referrals, mistakes with appointments, and low grade admin staff exercising their own judgement over whether I ought to see a consultant or not, thus delaying my treatment by several months.

When you're in your very late 30s, waiting for lengthy surgical treatment before being allowed to start IVF - to be told that the referral you've already waited several months for hasn't been sent because 'the secretary forgot to write it' is a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

I cannot wait for my treatment to be done before I enter the relative joy of private healthcare and no waiting lists.

tigerdog Fri 11-Dec-15 07:14:59

wisp I think you were one of the lucky ones! The Nuffield is a private hospital so being able to go there on the NHS is probably the best of both worlds.

I had a letter from my NHS FC last month saying that staff shortages had pushed my ivf start date out by 4 months. Completely unacceptable. It has completely screwed up my plans and made life so difficult. So peg even being in the system (have had all tests, investigations etc) hasn't prevented this delay. They are breaching waiting times and the NHS constitution and have told me I can't do anything and not to bother complaining.

I work in an NHS hospital too and I am planning on leaving because my experience at work is the same.

ungoog I remember your delays / hope your treatment gets underway soon.

PegPeg Fri 11-Dec-15 18:47:25

UnGoogleble, I'm so sorry to hear what you've both been through, it is absolutely infuriating and so disappointing when people casually tell you they've made a silly mistake that means nothing to them, but that sets you back by weeks if not months. This has happened to me so many times... I can fully empathise.

And Tigerdog, I'm sorry you're having to wait so long for the your start date, it's horrible when you have time scales planned out and then you have to go back to waiting. You have to change your whole mindset to come around to the idea of a much longer wait than you thought, and this isn't easy, despite people trying to make you feel better by saying things like 'Oh it's not long in the big scheme of things'.

I have had private treatment before, not for fertility stuff but other stuff, and the experience was entirely different, it was so smooth.

Anyway, I finally had my NHS consultation and it actually went quite well, she reckons I can start my cycle early January. I'm not going to count my chickens with the suggested start date though, as I've learned now that putting your faith in dates can lead to disappointment :/ Fingers crossed, though x

Osirus Fri 11-Dec-15 23:37:18

I couldn't fault my NHS clinic. I doubt I would have been treated any better if we'd gone private. They really looked after us and they were so professional. Our treatment worked first time as well.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 28-Dec-15 16:13:54

i started nhs with my dh and waiting time/tests etc took forver, sadly dh died almost 5yrs ago so all halted

i met an amazing man who is happy to ttc but as has own kids i lost my nhs go and we had to go private, sadly both private goes failed but the actual quickness of tests and care was better then nhs

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