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CCG defends 'necessary' decision to freeze access to free fertility services

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG has announced plans to scrap free IVF services until April 2019 in the face of mounting financial pressures.

A report presented at the CCG’s governing body meeting this week said a consultation on the decision received 1,311 responses.

The CCG admitted that the response was not supportive, but said the decision was 'necessary'.

The paper said: ‘Overall the individual responses to the consultation did not support the proposal. None of the responses received from organisations supported the proposal.’

However, a CCG response said cutting IVF is expected to save £700,000 annually in the face of a £46.5m deficit this financial year.

This comes as Pulse reported that five CCGs have stopped funding for IVF treatment completely, which GP leaders have said leaves patients in an ‘unacceptable postcode lottery situation’.

Dr Gary Howsam, chair of NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, said: ‘The response to the consultation showed that people feel strongly about this issue, and for that reason this was a very difficult decision for the governing body to make and we understand that people will be disappointed.

He added: ‘The decision to suspend routinely commissioning specialist fertility services is a financially necessary decision, following evaluation of the options available to us to reduce expenditure, and we have said that we will review this decision in April 2019.’

NHS Herts Valleys and NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCGs are also in the process of consulting on whether to reduce or scrap IVF treatment.

Readers' comments (7)

  • I don't believe that Gary would want to do this - this is the unfortunate positions that GP leaders are finding themselves in

    difficult to reconcile these decisions with acting in patients best interests

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Dear Public, You voted in the Conservatives and continuing austerity. You've got what you voted for so stop moaning.

    Though not really sure what the point of consultation is if you are going to ignore it anyway.

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  • Unfortunately Gary is the face of this bad news.
    Probably been advised he needs to make cuts and given some 'suggestions' as to what could be cut.
    Just a shame for the local population, and further highlights a postcode lottery. Sadly, not great for patients to consider moving further from their support network if they are considering IVF - a time when you really need those people nearby.
    Let's hope it's recommissioned in 2019 (though holding out little hope)

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  • Cobblers

    "Gary would not want to do this"

    Then Gary should fall on his sword.

    At the moment the reduction of services will be blamed on GPs, as was the intention by the politicos. If he resigns loudly, publically and states the reason then perhaps the unwashed will see where the real blame lies.

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  • Cobblers

    Oh and April 2019 is a joke right?

    Chuck it into the long grass and hope the protests die down.

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  • This is what I hate about the government;

    To the public it tries to be a goodie and tells the public they can have all they want. Behind closed doors, the government tells commissioners they must provide all of the above performing better then rest of the world but with less money then rest of the world.

    UK already have one of the most effective (if not the best) health care in the world. We can't get any more efficient without cutting services! See

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  • Sceptic Monkey - the report you refer to says the UK is number 10 out of 11 for 'healthy lives' which it defines as 'mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60'

    It effectively says 'everyone gets equal access to poor care'

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