So Vale of York CCG has decided today that it will be offering one cycle of IVF – the BBC describes it as a “U-turn” but it’s actually more of an S bend; they didn’t fund, then they said they would fund a single cycle, then they decided they couldn’t afford it and now it seems they can. Let’s just hope that this time patients can benefit from the decision and that some of those who have been waiting will finally be able to access NHS-funded fertility treatment.
It’s important not to forget in all the excitement about York finally starting funding that this still falls very short of what NICE recommends – which is three full cycles for women of 39 and under. The BBC tells us that one cycle of IVF “costs the NHS £3,600” – one of the real problems with NHS funding is that no one knows how much a cycle of IVF should cost the NHS, and that some CCGs pay twice as much for this as others. York had calculated the cost of just over 100 cycle at an astonishing £2 million, and then seems to have had a bit of a rethink on this. Perhaps if it was clear exactly how much IVF should cost the NHS, we would see far more fertility funding