HC Deb 15 December 1998 vol 322 c758
19. Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington)

If he will further review the application for infertility treatment by Mrs. X whose name has been provided to him. [62461]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. John Hutton)

I have every sympathy with my hon. Friend's constituent. However, Mrs. X's situation has been fully considered and reviewed by the health authority, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on or become involved in an individual case.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

The health authority is simply wrong. This is one of the most distressing cases that I have had to handle in the 20 years I have been a Member of the House. It involves a jeopardised marriage and an attempt at suicide by Mrs. X some two months ago, all because North Cumbria health authority refused to show any flexibility about the rules. Is it not about time that we introduced new rules to require health authorities to provide this treatment, given that the only justification for not providing it is that a woman's husband had a child by a previous marriage? Surely it is a matter of civil rights.

Mr. Hutton

First, I pay a very warm tribute to my hon. Friend for the energy and commitment with which he has represented his constituent in very difficult circumstances. However, I am sure he is aware that, as we have made clear today and on other occasions, the Government are absolutely committed to ensuring greater national consistency of access to services. He will also be aware that we have commissioned advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and are studying that advice carefully.

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