[WATCH] IVF couples to pay up to €2,500 for hormonal treatment

On TVM's Reporter, health minister justifies NHS fee for IVF service

Health minister Godfrey Farrugia
Health minister Godfrey Farrugia

The national health service will be charging patients seeking in vitro fertilisation up to €2,500 for the hormonal stimulation of female patients.

The news was welcomed with little pleasure by the Opposition's shadow minister for health, Claudio Grech, who accused health minister Godfrey Farrugia on TVM's Reporter on Monday that the government was introducing fees in the NHS by stealth.

"The IVF service is not entirely free of charge as previously thought. Patients are being obliged to pay €2,500 for hormonal stimulation."

The fee covers hormonal induction, which stimulates the production of female ova to create a greater number than usual, which are then harvested, or extracted, so that they can be implanted with sperm.

The fee also includes the cost of the drugs used, which could amount to €1,000.

Mater Dei will be offering IVF on the national health register in conjunction with a private partner, as yet unidentified by the government. The total cost of an IVF treatment process can be as much as €6,000, health minister Godfrey Farrugia said.

The imperative issue of whether free health for all was sustainable was also debated. Healthcare spending had increased substantially over the years and total healthcare expenditure in 2010 exceeded €530 million. In terms of total healthcare expenditure, Malta spent on average €1,800 per capita in 2010. This spend per capita is in line with countries like Cyprus, a health system that is also generally based on the Beveridge model. In the same year, the EU average for total health expenditure per capita was approximately €2,200.

"The health sector is not perfect at the moment, it wasn't before the general election and will not be perfect in the next general election, but still the government is obliged to bring forward solutions," Claudio Grech said on Reporter.

More observations on the health sector came from nurses' union boss Paul Pace, who complained that the MUMN had put forward proposals to the previous administration, "but all this was for nothing, they were ignored and the problems became chronic. The general election passed, but the problems are still there," Pace said.

Other participants included Martin Balzan, president of the Medical Association of Malta (MAM).

"Unfortunately, Dr Farrugia's way of doing things does not augur well. The ongoing problems in the health sector, such as the extensive waiting lists, medicines out of stock and long queues in the emergency department are not being addressed and new problems were created," Pace said.

"Nowadays, patients on the stretcher in the corridors are part and parcel of the health system. Before the general election we used to be bombarded on the matter by Labour and its news crew - now it doesn't seem to have any solutions on this matter and the patients in the corridors are expected to increase," Pace said. "Anything that was wrong under the previous administration is now accepted."

Replying, Farrugia disagreed with Pace. "I'm convinced that after 2015 the health sector will be in a much better state. I can announce that as regards to the parking problem, the new oncology hospital will have 179 new parking spaces."

When confronted by presenter Saviour Balzan that doctors are not at the forefront for change, Martin Balzan said: "This is not true because the rise in services during the past years was due to the fact that the doctors were working much more in the afternoon. Moreover, to increase the outputs, doctors had to work till 8pm everyday, especially in the operating theatres."

Reporter is aired live every Monday at 6:55pm on TVM. The programme is repeated on TVM2 on Monday at 10:15pm.

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Proset lil Astrolux boy twegiba tajba imma hawn certi nies li biex jizzattu u jiktbu Shame on you Minister l'ewwel jiehdu idejjhom hafifa wisq biex iharbxu ix Shame...Proset lil Ministru Godrey Farrugia.
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Jeffrey Camilleri
Labour Gimmicks! free ? If couples have problems for pregnancy and cannot afford thousands of €(euros) it would have been of great hope for couples. So free my foot. You are hurting couples who wish to give birth and have problems and that IVF could help or is the solution, but first you gave us the impression it's free for the first 3 times, but then spitting out the new news that thousands have to be payed. THIS IS MADE FOR THE RICH. GVERN tas-sinjuri!!!! Addio Malta taghna Ilkoll!!!
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Shame on you Minister Farrugia
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Hallina sur Grech x'jintroduci l-hlas, inti taf kemm tigik l-IVF fil-privat hux ghax ghandu l-Gvern ihallas it-trattament kollu hu u inti ma tghinx ruhek, ta' x'jghid il-proverbju hux "Trid tghid ruhek biex Alla jghinek". U terga dan il-Gvern ma qaghad jinheba wara xejn qabad u qal li l-procedura ta' l-IVF ser tkun b'xejn imma dan it-trattament irid jithallas mill-koppja li naturalment irid isir qabel ma jsir it-trattament ta' l-IVF propja. Imbaghad jekk il-koppja ma trid thallas dawn l-€2,500 tmur tghmilha privat, ghandha l-ghazla Sur Grech.