Decision on whether to reinstate NHS IVF treatment in Peterborough delayed for a second time

A decision on whether to reinstate NHS funded IVF treatment in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire has been delayed for a second time.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 7:12 pm
NHS funded IVF treatment in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was cut in 2017

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said it had today (Monday) “received new information from the Department of Health about the commissioning of IVF services”.

As a result it has delayed the decision which was due to be made tomorrow (Tuesday) until its next board meeting in August.

The previous deferral had been made in May which led to criticism from anxious parents desperate to know if they would be able to receive NHS funded fertility treatment in the future.

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The CCG claimed at the time it did not want the decision to clash with the European elections and Peterborough by-election.

The cut to NHS funded IVF treatment (barring two exceptions - for patients undergoing cancer treatment and for men who have a chronic viral infection) was made by the cash-strapped commissioning body in 2017, despite national guidelines recommending that women under 40 should be offered a minimum of three free cycles if they have been trying to conceive for three years or more.

At the time the CCG became the third in the UK to end NHS funding for IVF treatment, despite the treatment having been pioneered in the county.

The cut, which was expected to save the CCG £700,000 a year to help it tackle a multi-million pound deficit, was agreed on the premise that it would be reviewed this year.

Papers released ahead of tomorrow’s meeting indicated that the cut was likely to be made permanent, with no plans to review it in the future, after the CCG argued that that it had not seen a rise in patients accessing mental health services as result of being denied fertility treatment.

But in a statement released this afternoon the health body said: “The CCG has today received new information from the Department of Health about the commissioning of IVF services. Because of this the CCG has decided to review this information with NHS England and bring the decision back to the CCG Governing Body on August 6.”