Plans to cut IVF in Bedfordshire

ivf_science-300x168If you live in Bedfordshire, you should be aware that campaign group Fertility Fairness have produced a news release today warning that commissioners there are considering a blanket ban on NHS fertility treatment.

Susan Seenan, co-chair of Fertility Fairness said: ‘Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Jane Ellison has said that blanket restrictions on procedures that do not take account of the individual healthcare needs of patients are unacceptable. Despite this,Bedfordshire clinical commissioning group has announced it is consulting on implementing a blanket ban on NHS fertility treatment.’

‘Infertility is a disease and is as deserving of treatment as any other medical condition. We are calling on the Government to act now – to make it clear that while clinical commissioning groups have to operate within their financial budgets and consider the needs of their local healthcare population, they should not be implementing blanket bans on services.’

Across England, consultation responses supporting the continuation of NHS fertility services are being routinely ignored; Fertility Fairness would like undertakings from Bedfordshire clinical commissioning group that this will not happen on this occasion.’

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness said: ‘While Bedfordshire clinical commissioning group has promised to consult local people about their views regarding the provision of NHS fertility services, we are not reassured that this public consultation will be anything other than a meaningless exercise. There is now a striking North-South divide between the levels of provision of NHS fertility treatment. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that it is both clinically and cost effective that all eligible couples should receive up to three full NHS-funded cycles of IVF or ICSI where women are aged under 40. However, just 17.2 per cent of England’s 209 CCGs follow this national guidance and provide access to three NHS- funded IVF cycles. Of the 36 clinical commissioning groups offering three NHS-funded IVF cycles, the vast majority – 78 per cent – are in the North; just eight regions in the South (22 per cent) follow NICE’s recommendation regarding NHS fertility treatment. All the areas that have decommissioned NHS fertility services, or are consulting on doing so, are in the South of England.’

If you are going to be affected by this, do make sure that your voice is heard. Contact Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning group, contact Healthwatch and write to your local MP. If you are affected by this and are happy to talk to the media,  do please email

Calling all fertility patients in North West London

If you’re a fertility patient in North West London, and would be able to spare a few minutes to send an email or to talk to someone about your experiences of fertility problems and accessing NHS care, you could help to change the future for yourself and other fertility patients.

In Hillingdon, the local HealtWatch (which represents people’s views & experiences of care) has been reviewing local referral policies and noted that many of these do not follow the national NICE Clinical Guidelines, including the one for IVF.  The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) there is part of a group which covers all 7 CCGs in NorthWest London and they all have the same policy for IVF. The areas covered are the London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster.

The guidelines from NICE recommend 3 full cycles of IVF treatment for eligible women aged 39 and under, and one full cycle for eligible 40 – 42 year olds. In North West London, women under 40 get just one cycle, and those of 40 – 42 don’t get anything. This doesn’t follow NICE guidance.

HealthWatch Hillingdon have been attempting to influence the Hillingdon CCG to follow NICE Guidelines, but they need more evidence of the impact of this inequitable referral policy on women in North West London who need IVF, but are not getting the treatment NICE advises. So, all the help you can give them will be welcomed.

You can either email a summary of your experiences/views and impact of this IVF policy has had on you to Healthwatch Hillingdon ( or if you prefer, you are welcome to call Healthwatch Hillingdon (01895 272997) and they can record your views/experiences/comments for you,

All the information that you provide to Healthwatch Hillingdon will be kept completely confidential and they will not share any personally identifiable information with any NHS organisation or other body without your written permission.