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GPs unable to refer women over 34 for fertility treatment in 12 areas

GPs in 12 areas cannot refer women over 34 years of age for IVF treatment, an investigation has found.

The data, reported by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, showed that the 12 CCGs also offer just one full IVF cycle to women under 34.

Additionally, seven CCGs have stopped offering IVF entirely, and over 85 - over 40% of CCGs in England - have set a cut-off of 39 years.

This is in contravention of NICE guidance which states that three full cycles of IVF should be offered to women under 40 who meet the criteria, and one full cycle to those between 40 and 42.

NHS England told the BBC in a statement that it was up to CCGs: ’Ultimately these are decisions for local GPs, who rightly decide how best to balance the various competing demands on the NHS.’

But the health secretary, Matt Hancock, told Victoria Derbyshire that CCGs need to follow the guidelines that are already in place.

He said: ‘Decisions on the treatments that are made available to people should be made on their clinical need

‘There is a reason we have guidelines in the first place - and that’s to provide the standard the country should expect.’

Pulse has previously reported on a small number of CCGs which have cut funding for IVF altogether, which GP leaders said left patients in an ‘unacceptable postcode lottery situation’.

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