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IVF funding review could end the ‘postcode lottery’

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Campaigners are hopeful that commissioners will reinstate NHS funding for IVF when the decision is reviewed next month.

Bourn Hall are trying to have free IVF re-introduced in our area. (7533775)
Bourn Hall are trying to have free IVF re-introduced in our area. (7533775)

Anyone with a GP in the Cambridge & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has had to pay for treatment, regardless of their income, since NHS funding was revoked in September 2017.

But the CCG says it will now review the decision in May – two months later than initially planned.

Stuart Tuckwood and Ellie Crane launched a petition in 2017 to prevent the cuts, which received 4,000 signatures.

Stuart said: “We now have an opportunity to make the commissioners aware of the impact their decision has had.

“We are hopeful that we can convince them to reinstate funding. Recently South Norfolk CCG reintroduced funding for two cycles of IVF treatment in their area, removing the postcode lottery in Norfolk, and we would like to see a similar move here.”

Mrs Crane says the NHS funding that enabled her to have a daughter was life changing. She recalled: “Like any couple, we were happy and excited but also a little scared at the prospect of starting a family. However, each month brought disappointment and we started worrying that there might be a problem.

“A second year passed. I quit my job, unable to cope with the stress of working on top of this anxiety. Finally, after what seemed like endless tests and consultations, we were told that IVF was our best option and were referred for treatment on the NHS.

“At that point, Cambridgeshire NHS offered two rounds of IVF, but while we were waiting for the paperwork to be processed this was cut to one round – we missed the deadline by days.”

The Mid Herts CCG has negotiated a competitive deal with its five IVF suppliers on behalf of the 12 CCGs that serve Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Of these, only the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Valley CCGs provide no funding for IVF treatment.

Fertility clinic Bourn Hall has used its experience to design a survey to capture information about peoples’ fertility journeys.

It plans to use this information to propose options that would improve patient outcomes without a significant cost. It is also holding a fertility awareness evening on March 6.

The survey can be found at: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CambsCCGBHC.

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