NHS Stockport is the latest clinical commissioning group set to review its IVF offering and a public consultation on the issue has begun
Stockport currently offers two IVF cycles for women under the age of 40 but in the consultation, the options are to to continue with the current provision, reduce from two cycles to one or no longer offer any IVF provision.
The consultation will run until October 20 and the CCG has put the review down to what it has called ‘financial pressures’ and the need to find savings.
In 2017/18 the CCG provided 147 cycles of IVF treatment to registered patients and the proposal is to reduce the current provision from two IVF cycles to just one, with a saving of £220,000 over a year. If it cuts IVF altogether it will save the CCG £668,354.
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The move is likely to anger fertility campaigners who believe NHS CCGs should offer the recommended National Institute for Clinical Excellence(NICE) three IVF cycles for a woman under the age of 40.
But Dr Cath Briggs, the GP clinical chair of Stockport CCG told the Manchester Evening News that bosses were ‘facing real financial challenges’ and had to ensure public money was spent in a way that would have the greatest benefit.
She said: “All of our services are important, from cancer, GPs, accident and emergency, and maternity to children’s services, mental health and many more.
“However, we do need to identify if there are areas were savings can be made. That means we may need to make some difficult decisions. It’s simply not possible for us to fund everything as we’d like to.
“As a consequence, we are reviewing all of our services and one area we are considering is whether the number of IVF cycles should continue to be funded as they currently are.
“We appreciate that infertility is a very personal issue for those affected but that is the case for many of the services we offer.”
At present only Tameside and Glossop is the only CCG in Greater Manchester that continues to offer three cycles of IVF; Wigan, Salford and Stockport provide two and the remaining five boroughs one.
A public meeting will be held on November 27 to discuss the results of the consultation and the next steps.
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