'˜You can't put a cost on a life' - calls for re-think on cutting IVF for Peterborough parents

Plans to stop IVF treatment in Peterborough have been heavily criticised with health chiefs told 'you can't put a cost on a life.'

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 11:30 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:51 am

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.”

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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/.