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West Sussex PCT suspends IVF funding

20 December 2010
Appeared in BioNews 589

West Sussex NHS trust is the latest NHS trust to suspend funding of fertility treatment as managers try to cut spending by £50 million. Now patients across the county face months of delays for treatment. In addition, all obesity surgery and vasectomies, and other non-urgent operations such as repairing varicose veins and plastic surgery, will be put on hold until the next economic year - starting next April - unless there are exceptional circumstances.

NHS West Sussex is also telling GPs to stop referring patients for other routine treatments, meaning patients could experience a delay of nine weeks or more in receiving treatment.

These measures are being introduced because the trust has to make a further £10 million of savings, in order to break even by the end of March. The trust claims it is already half way there by reducing management costs and the amount of unscheduled care.

John Wilderspin, Chief Executive of NHS West Sussex, said: 'None of us relish having to take such decisions, but we have thought very carefully about what needs to be done and spoken to GPs and other clinicians about our plans, which will help to ensure that NHS in West Sussex can provide high quality, sustainable services in the future'.

However, the trust promised that all emergency and urgent care will continue to be delivered as now, within the government approved waiting times.

Dr Andrew Foulkes, acting Medical Director for NHS West Sussex, said: 'Our ageing population means that more people rely on the NHS when they are affected by cancer, stroke, dementia, diabetes, and many other serious conditions'. 

'It is also important to remember that there is no blanket ban for any treatment - if someone has a compelling medical need, they will be treated'.

Christine Field, Chairwoman of the scrutiny committee watchdog which recently inspected the trust's finances said: 'The key issue for us to understand is any impact on services and patients, and of particular concern is that to cut costs, people will have to wait for longer to be seen'.


Obesity and fertility treatment on hold in West Sussex
The Argus |  15 December 2010
Providing Clinical Care Within Available Resources
NHS West Sussex |  16 December 2010
23 May 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
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...
3 May 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard 
NHS Warwickshire is to resume providing fertility services this month after it suspended many routine procedures last summer amid financial concerns....
4 April 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
Couples struggling to conceive face more disappointment as NHS North Yorkshire and York joins a growing number of trusts restricting access to IVF after it decided to suspend funding for assisted conception services, save for those who demonstrate a 'clinical exception'....
28 March 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
Bury NHS trust in Greater Manchester has reinstated fertility treatment after suspending the service in September 2010 due to financial constraints....
7 February 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
A couple from Dorset expecting to receive two cycles of IVF on the NHS has spoke out against the trust after being told they could have access to only one....
13 December 2010 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
NHS Medway in Kent, South East England, has joined several other trusts in suspending funding for new referrals for IVF treatment until the new financial year when the decision will be reviewed....
13 December 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
UK health minister Andrew Lansley has expressed concern over the temporary suspension of IVF treatment by several NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) across the country due to financial strain....
6 December 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
Stockport NHS Trust has announced it is to stop funding IVF treatment for new patients. The Primary Care Trust (PCT), which is attempting to implement spending cuts totalling £21 million, will allow patients currently on its IVF waiting list to receive one cycle of treatment...
8 November 2010 - by Ken Hanscombe 
NHS West Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT) has suspended IVF treatments considered non-urgent until April 2011. The measure is aimed at avoiding a projected overspend of approximately £40m on the PCT's budget of £1.013 billion, within the first six months of the coming year...
1 July 2010 - by National Infertility Awareness Campaign 
When the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was asked to produce a clinical guideline on infertility back in 2000, it was with the aim of creating fairer and faster access to services for patients. At that time, the vast majority of couples seeking treatment for infertility had to pay for it privately...
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