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Cambridgeshire CCG to review IVF policy

7 June 2021
Appeared in BioNews 1098

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced it will be reviewing its 2017 decision to discontinue funding for IVF treatment.

Originally described as a temporary suspension, IVF funding was eventually indefinitely suspended by the CCG in 2019 making it one of only three CCGs in the country to not fund fertility treatment. 

Speaking to local papers Cambridge News and the Peterborough Telegraph a spokesperson said: 'Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is undertaking a review of the provision of IVF services in our local area, with a paper due to be taken to our July 2021 Governing Body Meeting.'

The announcement follows a meeting held with Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, Fight for IVF campaigner Amber Izzo and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG to discuss the policy review, where couples from the area were able to share their experiences of the mental, physical and financial effects of infertility. Previously the CCG claimed there was no 'significant' impact on the use of mental health services since they stopped funding IVF (see BioNews 1010). 

Following the meeting, those attending were optimistic about the resumption of services, with Bristow telling the Peterborough Telegraph, 'The bosses from the CCG listened to those stories and I hope will take the message from those brave women very seriously, that you can change this decision and if they don't I will continue to campaign with Amber and all loving couples about this and continue to challenge the CCG to change their minds.'

NICE guidelines recommend that all areas offer three rounds of fully funded IVF, but the reality is that availability of NHS-funded IVF services has become a 'postcode lottery', with huge variations across different parts of the UK. 

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG previously defended its policy to stop offering IVF by pointing out that it saved £598,000 in the first year it suspended services and said the money could be 'used to fund a range of other vital healthcare services'. They also vowed in 2019 to not reinstate funded IVF services until the trust was in surplus. However, the CCG's deficit has increased significantly since it first suspended NHS funded IVF services in 2017

Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust (the charity which publishes BioNews), said, 'For far too long now, patients who fall within this CCG's catchment area have been denied access to treatment. It is a national scandal that the city where IVF was originally pioneered provides no NHS-funded treatment. We urge the CCG to reinstate a full and NICE-compliant service as soon as possible.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Cambs couples could be offered IVF on the NHS as CCG reviews policy
Cambridge News |  2 June 2021
Peterborough campaigner and city MP welcome review of IVF funding
Peterborough Telegraph |  2 June 2021
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