Shailesh Vara MP has expressed his concern at the decision taken by the Governing Board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to indefinitely suspend NHS funded IVF treatment.
The decision was taken despite the National Institute for Health and Care England (NICE) guidelines that state routine IVF treatment should be provided by all CCGs and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is one of just five across the country not to do so.
Mr Vara has written to the CCG on a number of occasions urging them to retain NHS funded IVF treatment and he has also spoken personally with the CCG including just a few weeks ago, stressing the importance of this service.
This decision is expected to save £700,000 a year, less than one per cent of the CCG’s deficit and which by no means represents the significant human cost of the decision. This is despite the Government’s commitment to an increase of £20 billion in real terms funding for the NHS by 2023/24.
The previous Health Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, also wrote to the CCG in June to reinforce the importance of NHS funded IVF provision, stating;
“I cannot emphasise enough that it is not acceptable for CCGs to offer no routine access to fertility services.”
Mr Vara said:
“I am deeply disappointed that the CCG has taken the decision to stop the provision of IVF treatment.
The CCG is in a tiny minority of Clinical Commissioning Groups in the country to take this decision and they have clearly sought to ignore not only my request for the retention of the service but also the advice by the former Health Minister as well as NICE.
For far too long, fertility services have been seen as a ‘postcode lottery’ aspect of NHS care and this deeply unfair decision will cause untold distress and suffering to couples wishing to start a family.
Given that the sum of money involved is such a small proportion of the CCG’s budget but one with such a significant and meaningful effect on the community, even at this late stage I sincerely hope the CCG will reconsider its decision.”