At a CCG board meeting last week there was discussion about the need to avoid a multi-million pound deficit at the end of the year. The CCG has been asked to look for a favoured option for cuts and believes cutting IVF cycles could save around £300,000, according to the Bury Times.
Dr Cath Fines, clinical director of the CCG, said: 'The legal advice is that we do need to go out to the public with the questions around the options of moving from three to one [cycles] or a range of options including going to zero or keeping at three.'
The CCG's interim chief finance officer, Mike Woodhead, said: 'We need to make sure our public engagement is set in the context of the financial position we are in and that we are obligated to break even and we have to fund savings.'
Currently patients in Bury aged between 23 and 42 who meet the criteria for funded IVF treatment on the NHS are offered three full cycles, with a cycle defined as one round of ovarian stimulation and the implantation of all resultant fresh and frozen embryo(s) or a successful live birth. This makes the CCG one of only four in England to offer IVF to people who have children from a previous relationship, exceeding the guidelines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
The meeting was attended by Craig and Anne-Marie Minter who relocated from Berkshire to Bury to increase their chances of having children. After the meeting they expressed concern that they may have to move again if the number of IVF cycles is reduced in Bury.
Currently, 61 percent of CCGs in the country offer only one cycle to patients.
Medway CCG in Kent is also considering reducing the number of IVF cycles offered. Residents are being asked to share their views in an online survey by 22 June.
Aileen Feeney, chief executive of Fertility Network UK, said: 'Fertility patients in Medway will be very distressed to hear this news. Its proposal to cut services and provide just one partial IVF cycle will only add to patients' suffering.'