AMA Queries IVF Review Focus on Clinical Appropriateness of ART Interventions

5 Jul 2005

AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today the AMA is concerned with the inclusion of clinical appropriateness of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the terms of reference for the Government's new IVF Review Committee.

Dr Haikerwal said the AMA had not been advised of the inclusion of 'clinical appropriateness' in talks with the Government and had no expectation or anticipation that the review would extend into the clinical area.

"It was our belief that the aim of the review was to look at scientific evidence and the funding issues around IVF," Dr Haikerwal said.

"The use of terms such as 'clinical appropriateness' and 'societal impacts' suggests that other agendas are at play here.

"A major concern is the Government's apparent invasion of the consulting room to question clinical practice.

"Three's a crowd in the doctor-patient relationship, especially in the sensitive area of IVF.

"As far as the AMA is concerned, there is absolutely no reason for the Government to select IVF to start redefining its role in determining what is appropriate clinical management of any medical practice or procedure. Such a redefinition of the Government role would be totally unacceptable.

"It has always been our understanding that the review was all about advising the Government on the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of assisted reproductive technologies.

"While we recognise that the Government has a legitimate role in the funding side of IVF, it has absolutely no place in influencing the clinical side of things.

"We will resist any such intervention and will advise the Government of our strong views.

"Meanwhile, the AMA representative on the review committee, Dr Andrew Pesce, will raise the AMA's concerns with the other committee members," Dr Haikerwal said.

Dr Pesce, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, said today that he believed any pre-empting by Government of the outcome of the review is simply not on.

"As part of the review team, I will seek reassurances that my input, and the input of the other members, will be free of any Government pressure or influence," Dr Pesce said.

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