23 May 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 608
NHS South West Essex has reinstated funding for IVF seven months after suspending the service. The move comes after the PCT reduced running costs by £400,000 last year to financially break even. The suspension of IVF funding was part of a £52 million package of cuts.
'A lot of people were very unhappy about it when it was suspended, but I was always led to believe it would be reinstated at some point. I'm glad that decision has now been taken', Basildon MP Stephen Metcalfe said.
Last October the PCT, which buys health services for Basildon, Thurrock and Brentwood, announced it would restrict IVF to people receiving life-saving treatment or who would pass the age of 40 before the next financial year.
NHS South West Essex was criticised for the move, according to the Echo newspaper. One complaint was the way people were notified, with some women only receiving letters informing them their treatment was cancelled days before they were about to begin.
'We were forced to take a number of actions to make sure we broke even and we actually ended up with a small surplus', a PCT spokeswoman said. 'This allowed the trust to reinstate the funding this financial year'.
Eligible people can now access up to three cycles of IVF. The PCT has contacted women affected by the cancellation of the service to notify them of the change. They are advised to contact their clinic to discuss how to restart treatment.