Talks begin on cutting NHS IVF funding in parts of Nottinghamshire

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IVF is currently widely available on the NHS but could be withdrawn completely to save money.

Health bosses are meeting the public today to discuss plans which could see NHS funding for IVF treatment scrapped in parts of Notts.

Members of NHS Mansfield and Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are consulting on the proposals before a final decision is made in January.

Several options being reviewed include changing the eligibility criteria for access to IVF treatment funded by the NHS, and withdrawing it altogether.

The CCGs currently fund one cycle of IVF per person in both areas, although people sometimes pay privately for additional cycles if required.

Funding of IVF in Newark and Sherwood and Mansfield and Ashfield currently costs around £300,000 per year.

It was announced in August that the NHS needs to cover a shortfall of around £20m in the area.

Chief officer for NHS Newark and Sherwood and Mansfield and Ashfield CCGs, Dr Amanda Sullivan said: “The local NHS has been very successful in treating more conditions and in helping people to live longer.

“Additional funding has been made available to the NHS, but new treatments, growing levels of long-term conditions and increasing expectations mean that CCGs now have to re-prioritise how precious NHS resources are deployed.

“As the health needs of our population change, we need to review how best to allocate the considerable resources available to us, so that maximum health benefits can be achieved overall.”

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Across the affected areas 35 IVF treatments lead to pregnancies in the last year. (File photo)

Figures show during the last year 106 people received IVF across mid-Nottinghamshire with 35 resulting in a pregnancy, 34 resulting in no pregnancy, seven cancelled and 30 still awaiting results.

The current policy defines that the CCGs fertility assessment and treatment service is restricted to women aged 18 – 42 years at the time of referral into the services.

There is currently no age limit for men.

Dr Sullivan said: “We need to save around £20 million this year, roughly twice the normal savings requirement.

“This is likely to increase over the next few years. The CCGs need to ensure that there is enough money to maintain high quality and safe services.”

The formal consultation started on Monday, November 14, and will end on Friday, January 13, 2017, but the first of a series of public meetings is being held today at Mansfield Library.

GP Clinical Lead for NHS Newark and Sherwood CCG, Dr Thilan Bartholomuez said: “We know that a review of eligibility for NHS fertility treatment is going to divide opinion and will cause some strength of feeling.

“No decision has been made and this period of consultation is an opportunity for people, whatever their view, to have their say about any of the proposals set out.

“We strongly urge people to share their views using the consultation and feedback methods available.”

More information on the services being discussed can be found on the CCGs’ web site.

What is IVF?

  • IVF stands for In-vitro fertilisation.
  • It helps couples who are having
    difficulty getting pregnant in the
    normal way.
  • It involves taking some drugs which help the
    woman to produce some eggs.
  • The eggs are then taken out of the
    woman’s body and mixed with the
    man’s sperm in a laboratory.
  • Eggs that have been fertilised are
    put back into the woman’s
    womb and hopefully grow to
    become a baby.

 

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