Plans to stop IVF treatment in Peterborough have been heavily criticised with health chiefs told “you can’t put a cost on a life.”
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to stop commissioning specialist fertility services other than for patients undergoing cancer treatment and men who have a chronic viral infection.
The move will save £700,000 a year as the CCG looks to tackle a huge £45 million deficit in 2017/18.
But city councillors on Tuesday night pleaded for an IVF re-think. Cllr Lucia Serluca told CCG chiefs: “This is something close to my heart. As far as I’m concerned I would never support this whatsoever, never in a million years.”
Cllr Brian Rush said: “This will be a devastating blow for those that can’t conceive their own child.” Cllr John Fox said: “You can’t put a cost on a life.”
However, Cllr June Bull said: “You really are between a rock and a hard place. It’s a hard judgement call.”
Dr Richard Spiers, clinical lead for policies at the CCG, admitted IVF was value for money, but said: “This is a horribly difficult call but we feel this is something we have to do. There is no fat left [to trim].”
Jessica Bawden, CCG girector of corporate affairs, said health funding was not keeping up with demand.
Approximately 200 people in Cambridgeshire had IVF in 2015/16. Susan Seenan, chief executive of fertility charity Fertility Network UK, said the CCG is “failing fertility patients” and that parents who cannot conceive face a high risk of depression.
Judith Smith, group operations manager at CARE Fertility in Peterborough, acknowledged the CCG’s difficult position.
She said: “We would welcome a national strategy for fertility funding rather than the current local provision which is defined by postcode.”
A consultation on the proposal runs until 5pm on June 12. Residents can give their views on May 15 from 2-3pm and 6-7pm at The Fleet, Fleet Way, Fletton or fill out a form at www.cambridgeshireandpeterboroughccg.nhs.uk/.