UK health chiefs are putting pressure on Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to reverse their decisions to reduce or scrap NHS IVF
In a leaked letter sent in June, the health minister, Jackie Doyle-Price has told CCGs that their rationing tactics are unacceptable, creating a postcode lottery and must end, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.
In the letter, she said: “It is unfair to patients with infertility, who have every right to expect NHS service based on clinical need. And it does untold damage to the reputation of the NHS we hold so dear.”
She said that infertility can cause ‘great psychological distress’ and told CCGs to review their policies in light of new guidance from the fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
She said: “I cannot emphasise enough that it is not acceptable for CCGs to offer no routine access to fertility services. All CCGs should move towards the full implementation of the NICE guideline recommendations. I urge you to grasp this opportunity to end the lottery of fertility treatment once and for all.”
Several CCGs are in the process of reviewing their NHS IVF provision after reducing the number of cycles they offer to one or none, including South Norfolk and Hertfordshire
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will make a decision in July whether to restart funding NHS IVF after withdrawing all options in 2017.
Campaign group, Fertility Fairness, has said it is encouraged by the news.
Sarah Norcross, co-chairwoman of the group said: “They are steps in the right direction for NHS fertility services in England after substantial disinvestment over the last two and a half years, with one in five CCGs slashing services.”
Do you live in an area that has been affected by the NHS cuts? We’d like to hear your comments on this news, email firstname.lastname@example.org