Swansea Bay University Health Board
Background to the Project
Traditional referral practices from primary care settings to specialist fertility clinics are considered inefficient and outdated.
- Fertility is a dynamic and ever-changing speciality.
- GPs currently don’t have enough time at consultation to go through history, counselling, explanation of investigation and potential treatments.
- On average, fertility referral requires between 2 to 5 GP visits for each partner.
- It is now common that couples are also registered at different GP surgeries, which creates challenges in terms of marrying two separate referrals.
- In the overwhelming majority of cases, only the female is referred (infertility stigma as a “female” problem); whilst 53% of fertility issues are related to the male.
- It is very common that unnecessary tests are done, necessary tests not completed, or done at the wrong time/repeated unnecessarily.
- The traditional rejection of incomplete referral is not helpful; it frustrates patients, GPs & specialist fertility team.
Fertility Direct will remove the multiple time-consuming bureaucratic steps involved in traditional referral pathways by trying out a new fertility pathway.
How this will be achieved
Eligible patients will have direct access to specialist fertility teams, where relevant medical information will be collected. This will improve efficiency by allowing management decision to be made at the first specialist consultant clinic.
- Decreased number of visits to GP and specialist fertility clinic settings; therefore reducing waiting time for patients.
- Reductions in waste by abolishing unnecessary investigations and ensuring appropriate evidence based interventions are in place.
- Prioritisation of access to specialist services to those patients that are most in need of such support.
- Support for hard to reach groups to directly access a spcecialist member of the fertility service, thus reducing inequalities in access to healthcare.
- Time savings as the most effective parameter in treatment success.
- Empowerment of infertile couples as well as ensuring women’s health is a major priority.
- Opens to GPs interested in women’s health and infertility the opportunity for closer coordination, update and collaboration.