Thursday, July 7, 2011

VIDEO: IVF: Lord Winston on private fertility treatment costs

I've just watched this video from the BBC:

It's Lord Robert Winston talking about the "massive profiteering" by private fertility clinics in the UK.

I see many parallels with what is going on in the UK with the NZ system, and if what Winston says is true about the amount of "markup" the private clinics are putting on the cost of treatments coupled with the fact that the (UK) NHS often relies on the private clinics' costings (rather than doing their own costings) to set prices for public treatment, then that could also be true for NZ.

It would be VERY interesting for NZ government/politicians/tax payers-at-large to know three things:
1) How much fertility treatment costs
2) How many people are denied (timely) treatment
3) How much the NZ tax payer ends up paying to fund the treatments it DOES fund, since they are pretty much being charged private-treatment costs. (i.e. not "at cost" procedures, but rather, procedures with some form of markup for profit)
4) How many more people could be funded per year in NZ if the NZ tax payer was only charged for funded procedures at COST price, not private prices.

Gosh, it would be good to get some common sense here.

In other news, I'm studying a paper on cultural contexts of learning for my Diploma in Tertiary  Teaching. I missed the first class where the other students were asked for homework to bring in an object which represented them / their culture / part of their culture.

People brought along favourite songs, sculptures, photos, foods, tools etc. I missed that first class, so I had not brought anything. My turn came round and I scrabbled in my handbag. Of course! I pulled out my test kit and log book (yup, still use a paper one).

And so proceeded a very cool, very impromptu, and very blow-the-rest-of-them-out-of-the-water talk about type 1 diabetes, how it affects me, and how I use the test kit. I even did a demonstration! (Made sure to ask if anyone was squeamish about blood first). Everyone was a bit stunned that I could talk so passionately like that, but they asked some very interesting questions. We discussed the "Diabetes Police", the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 and how they're different diseases, how it feels to go low, whether finger-pricking hurts, how I am starting to advocate for type 1 diabetics, what I could offer as a teacher to diabetic students on campus, what insulin pumps are, and a bit about the research and clinical trials of Professor Bob Elliot of LCT Global.

It was nice.

And when the next student apologised because her object was a sweet flan, and she was assuming I couldn't have any! Not true! My Mum always said that I can eat pretty much anything, as long as I'm prepared to inject enough for it. I nearly ripped the spoon out of her hand to get a taste! haha. NEVER come between me and a dessert!


  1. Very interesting videos and news, especially since I live in UK. After one funded cycle we now have to pay for treatment ourselves.

    Hope you are able to get your funds soon!

  2. The money aspect of fertility treatment is so enraging. It seems like no country can figure out the way to keep things efficient and affordable. WHy is this field so different from other medical fields?