Health chiefs are planning to stop routinely commissioning any specialist fertility services other than for two specified exceptions - for patients undergoing cancer treatment and for men who have a chronic viral infection).
It is believed this will save the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) £700,000 a year as it looks to cut costs.
Dr Gary Howsam, clinical chair and chief clinical officer, said: “The CCG has to make some very difficult decisions about how to allocate our budget.
“It is a fixed budget and yet we have a growing demand for all types of healthcare services, as well as a significant financial deficit to clear.
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“We are now in the position that we have to evaluate every service we commission.
“Specialist fertility services are expensive treatments and last year we spent over £1 million on them. The CCG has made the difficult decision that when looking at the prioritisation of funds, specialist fertility treatments is an area that we should review.”
The proposal would not affect other fertility services and would still enable patients to be referred from their GP to their local hospital for investigation into their infertility.
There are other investigations and clinical interventions that can improve fertility available to people, before the need to access specialist fertility services, and access to these is not being restricted.
Dr Howsam added: “Approximately 200 people accessed IVF services in 2015/16. Although this is a relatively small number of patients we do understand that any changes would have a significant impact on those affected by this proposal.
“We’re encouraging members of the public to share their views about the proposal. They can do this by attending one of the public meetings or responding via the consultation document or online survey.
“Once the consultation is complete, the CCG governing body will consider the feedback before making a decision.
“Whatever decision is made, this proposal will be reviewed in April 2019.”
A public consultation on the proposal will run from today (Monday, March 13) until 5pm on Monday, June 12.
Any members of the public with an interest in the proposed changes to specialist fertility services are encouraged to respond to the consultation.
Members of the public can give their views in a number of ways. They can attend one of the following public meetings: . Thursday, May 11: 6pm to 7pm - The Boat House Business Centre, 1 Harbour Square, Wisbech PE13 3BH
. Monday, May 15: 2pm to 3pm and 6pm to 7pm - The Fleet, Fleet Way, Peterborough, PE2 8DL
. Monday, May 22: 12.30pm to 1.30pm - Central Library, Lion Yard, 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3QD
. Thursday, May 25: 6pm to 7pm - The Maltings, Ship Lane, Ely, CB7 4BB
. Wednesday, June 7: 6pm to 7pm - The Meadows Community Centre, 1 St Catharine’s Rd, Cambridge, CB4 3XJ
. Thursday, June 8: 6pm to 7pm - Huntingdon Library, Princes Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3PA
Residents can also fill in the questionnaire found online on the CCG’s website.
Or they can:
. Fill in the paper copy of the questionnaire found in the consultation document and send it FREEPOST to: Freepost Plus RSCR-GSGK-XSHK,
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, Lockton House, Clarendon Road, Cambridge. CB2 8FH (you do not need a stamp)
.Telephone or email the CCG Communications and Engagement Team on 01223 725304/[email protected]
. If you belong to a group or organisation, you can invite the CCG along to one of your meetings by contacting the Communications and Engagement Team on
01223 725304 or by emailing [email protected]