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Essex ‘worst place’ to access IVF as CCG cuts funding

Essex ‘worst place’ to access IVF as CCG cuts funding

Commissioners in Basildon and Brentwood have decided to stop funding specialist fertility services, including IVF, to balance the books
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Commissioners in Basildon and Brentwood have decided to stop funding specialist fertility services, including IVF, to balance the books.

Mothers will no longer be referred for IVF and those that have already been referred will now only receive one cycle of treatment, despite being promised three initially.

The decision was made following a nine-week consultation in an effort to cut a potential deficit of £14m this year.

The consultation gathered 850 responses, of which 42% insisted IVF should be funded.

Susan Seenan, chief executive of Fertility Network UK, said the funding cut is “disgraceful”, adding that the CCG is “failing already vulnerable and distressed patients”.

She said: "The decision to cut NHS IVF for new and existing patients is cruel and unethical.

"Essex is now officially the worse place to live in England if you hope to access NHS fertility services.”

The CCG is just the latest area to stop funding the service, with Basildon and Brentwood CCG joining North East Essex CCG and Mid Essex CCG to cut IVF funding.

According to the charity Fertility Fairness, 80% of CCGs are failing to follow NICE guidelines in commissioning the recommended three cycles of IVF.

Dr Arv Guniyagodage, chair of Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “The CCG has made substantial savings in areas which don’t directly impact on patient care, such as in procurement and contracts with service providers, but the scale of our financial challenge has meant that we have needed to look more widely for savings.

“We really have had no choice but to take some tough decisions to get the local NHS back onto a more secure and sustainable footing, live within our means and ensure that we can maintain the services that are most needed.”

The new measures will also limit access to cosmetic surgery, gluten-free foods on NHS prescription, e-cigarettes and certain pain injections.

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