If 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.’