Health: A Question of Health

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I am having private IVF treatment but added to the cost of each cycle is an expensive regime of drugs. A friend having the same treatment at the same clinic has her drugs supplied by the NHS, but my GP refuses. Can I force the NHS to supply them?

This is a minefield. There are no national guidelines for GPs but some of them feel it is wrong for the NHS to pay for drugs that are part of private treatment. Write to the Pharmaceutical Adviser of your local health authority to find out what the policy is in your area. If there is no policy, then it's up to your GP. There are rumours that the Government is to introduce national rules to end this "rationing by postcode".

A recent, routine test has picked up a small amount of blood in my urine. The laboratory tests failed to find any infection and I am now waiting to see the urologist. What can cause blood in the urine?

The most common cause is cystitis, an infection inside the bladder. If no infection was found, then it is vital to perform further tests. Other possible causes include kidney or bladder stones and tumours of the kidneys or bladder. Some perfectly healthy people have a small amount of blood in their urine, particularly after strenuous exercise. Three tests are used to find the source of bleeding: ultrasound scans, X-rays of the kidneys using a dye injected into a vein (IVU), and cystoscopy - looking inside the bladder with a small telescope.

Send your questions to: A Question of Health, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171- 293 2182; or e-mail them to health@independent.co.uk. Dr Kavalier regrets he is unable to reply personally to questions

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