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Suffolk bows to public pressure to keep IVF funding

30 January 2017
Appeared in BioNews 886

The Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has abandoned plans to cut all funding for IVF treatment, following a huge public response.

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).

CCG drops plans to cut IVF and vulnerable adult care after 'incredible' public response
Pulse |  24 January 2017
Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG to continue IVF treatments after proposed cuts drew 'enormous' interest
East Anglian Daily Times |  25 January 2017
Ipswich and East Suffolk to keep NHS IVF
Fertility Network UK (press release) |  25 January 2017
Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups reject IVF reduction
Suffolk Free Press |  25 January 2017
6 November 2017 - by Sarah Norcross 
Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust and Co-Chair of the campaigning organisation Fertility Fairness, speaks on TV and radio about worsening access to publicly funded IVF...
20 February 2017 - by Sarah Pritchard 
New proposals from Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could see NHS-funded IVF treatment available only in 'exceptional circumstances', such as for patients with HIV or cancer...
13 February 2017 - by Rikita Patel 
The Wirral CCG has announced that it is cutting the provision of NHS-funded IVF cycles from three to two, in an attempt to reduce its financial deficit...
23 January 2017 - by Dr Rachel Montgomery 
Steve McCabe MP has led a parliamentary debate on the variable provision of fertility treatments across the UK, calling for a revision to how fertility services are funded and provided...
12 December 2016 - by Dr Rachel Montgomery 
Only 16 percent of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England follow the national guidance on access to NHS fertility treatment, according to an audit by campaign group Fertility Fairness...
12 December 2016 - by Richard Clothier 
How the experience of being denied IVF on the NHS turned one man into a campaigner determined to improve the situation for the thousands of other infertile people...
28 November 2016 - by Ari Haque 
Basildon and Brentwood CCG has announced that it will no longer provide fertility treatment, including IVF on the NHS to new patients...
26 September 2016 - by Lone Hørlyck 
Thirteen Clinical Commissioning Groups are considering making cuts to IVF funding, potentially removing the procedure on the NHS in some areas...
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