Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) yesterday (25 September) approved a recommendation to revise its policy for funding specialist fertility services (including IVF).
Starting immediately and until the policy is reviewed in September 2015, the CCG will only fund specialist fertility services in exceptional clinical cases.
Couples having difficulties conceiving can still consult their GP and, if appropriate, see a local gynaecologist for further investigation. Treatments such as surgery or ovarian stimulation will continue to be funded; but only in clinically exceptional circumstances would NHS funding in mid Essex support an onward referral to a specialist centre for assisted conception, such as IVF.
Said Dr Caroline Dollery, Chairman of Mid Essex CCG; “It has been incredibly tough decision for the CCG Board to make as we aware it will be a huge disappointment for people affected by fertility issues in mid Essex.
“The CCG has considered every aspect of its decision and in particular the profound concerns that some people have expressed about revising this policy.
“In mid Essex, we have been at the forefront of fertility treatment since 2009. We were proud to be one of the first areas in the country to offer three cycles of IVF.
“But at this moment in time the CCG needs to make £8 million in savings and further savings next year. We have to consider the complete picture for the local NHS – current demands for services are costing more than the money available.
"The aspiration to meet NICE criteria and to commission IVF services for people in mid Essex still remains and we have made a commitment to review the decision again in September 2015.”