30 January 2017
ByAppeared in BioNews 886
Last summer, the CCG revealed that it was considering reducing the number of NHS-funded IVF cycles from two cycles to one – or even zero – to help deal with the CCG's £13 million deficit.
Currently, women under the age of 40 can receive two fully funded IVF cycles, and those over 40 can undertake one free cycle.
The CCG received almost 1400 responses to their open consultation, the majority of which were in support of preserving the current funding for IVF services.
'The level of feedback has been incredible, which highlights the passion people have for their NHS,' said Mark Shenton, chairman of the CCG. He told Pulse that this feedback was crucial in helping the board make their final decision. 'These are the right decisions and show how good patient engagement is essential when planning changes to services that will affect the lives of so many people,' he said.
Susan Seenan, chief executive of Fertility Network UK and co-chair of campaign group Fertility Fairness, praised the actions of CCG, and said it highlighted the power of local people. 'It is heartening to hear that health bosses in Ipswich and East Suffolk have listened to the views of patients and the public and have committed to continuing to fund NHS fertility services. The news will be an enormous relief to the one in six couples in Ipswich and East Suffolk who need medical help in order to become parents, and will give hope to the many other patients in England who are facing potential cuts to NHS fertility services,' she said.
The CCG says that it will have to look at reducing other services, such as prescription medications, to 'maintain a financial balance'.
The decision contrasts with that of Basildon and Brentwood CCG, which decided to cut all funding for IVF in November 2016 (see Bionews 879).