• Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and West Suffolk CCG consult on whether to decommission NHS funded IVF treatment
  • Infertility charity claims Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG reduced IVF services without a public consultation

COMMISSIONING: Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups have announced plans to cut NHS funded IVF services.

Both CCGs said they will consult on whether to decommission NHS funded IVF treatment or to cut funding from two IVF cycles to one.

The move follows Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG announcing earlier this month that it would be cutting funding for IVF services from two cycles to one.

The charity Infertility Network UK said the CCG made the decision without public consultation.

A CCG spokesman said: “The health system is facing serious financial challenges and we need to look at all areas of our spending, including the provision of infertility treatment.

“The CCG governing body has considered this carefully and, after a review of the cost and effectiveness of funding two cycles of IVF treatment, has taken the decision to cease funding the second cycle. This is in line with other CCGs who have also reduced the number of cycles they commission.”

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that women under 40 should be offered three cycles of NHS funded IVF treatment and one cycle for some women aged 40-42.

According to Fertility Fairness, a national organisation representing professional bodies working in fertility treatment, in 2015, 17 per cent CCGs in England offered the full three cycles recommended by NICE, compared to 24 per cent in 2013.

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, said: “What we are witnessing is a sustained disinvestment in NHS fertility services with the south east hardest hit. In East Anglia, half of the eight CCGs in the region are turning their backs on helping people diagnosed with infertility.

“Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and West Suffolk CCG currently offer two NHS funded IVF cycles but both CCGs announced they are consulting on cutting this to one cycle or stopping offering any treatment – and just weeks ago Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG cut the number of IVF cycles it offers from two to one without consultation.

“Elsewhere in the South East, both Basildon and Brentwood CCG and Bedfordshire CCG are consulting with a view to decommissioning NHS funded IVF, while Mid Essex CCG and North East Essex CCG have already stopped offering access to fertility treatment.”

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and West Suffolk CCG were approached for comment.