The HSE has commenced planning for the procurement of advanced human reproduction (AHR) services within the private sector prior to the further roll-out of the model of care for infertility this year.
The model of care, published in 2019, was developed by the Department of Health in conjunction with the HSE’s National Women and Infants Health Programme.
The model comprises three stages starting in primary care, extending into secondary care, and where necessary, tertiary care, with patients being referred onwards through structured pathways.
Phase one of the roll-out of the model has involved the establishment of six regional infertility hubs within maternity networks at secondary care level.
Phase two will see the introduction of tertiary infertility services including IVF.
Funding was secured in Budget 2023 to support access to advanced AHR treatments. “With a view to commencing access to publicly funded AHR services, the HSE is now planning for the operationalisation of both publicly and privately provided services,” according to a request to market document published by the HSE.
“It is anticipated by the HSE that in the short- to medium-term, the majority of services will need to be provided via the private sector whilst the HSE build up a network of public capacity. It is currently planned that these services will commence as of September 2023.”
A key objective of the market sounding exercise is to identify the level of interest and capacity of private providers to respond to the HSE needs to provide publicly funded AHR services to public patients.
It is also intended to help the HSE “better understand the supply market as it pertains to the provision of private AHR services”.
A national eligibility framework for access to publicly funded AHR services and the “definition of the quantum of AHR care packages” to be funded for eligible patients is also being developed under the auspices of the Department of Health.
The response deadline is 7 February.