From October 2018, any new applications to seek funding for IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) services will be capped to one funded cycle for Bury patients.
The decision to reduce provision in this area from the current offer of up to three funded cycles, to one, was made at this week’s meeting of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Governing Body (Board), and follows a six week consultation period.
IVF is one of a number of areas where the CCG has explored potential savings to reduce the expected financial gap. Moving to one funded cycle of IVF will save the CCG up to £170,000 every year.
The consultation which ran from 6th August to 16th September aimed to capture views and feedback on plans to review Bury’s policy in relation to the provision of IVF services. More than 400 individuals shared their views through a survey. The opportunity to feed back views was promoted through the press and social media, online, in GP practices and through local networks, with requests to speak to any local groups welcomed.
Through the feedback received, there was a clear understanding of why the CCG was exploring all areas of spend including IVF to identify where savings could be achieved. Whilst the majority of respondents had a preference for the CCG to continue to offer up to three funded cycles of IVF, there was some support for a reduction, there was, however, little support to move to zero cycles.
Having considered the responses received, no significant areas emerged that the CCG had not already considered. There was a strong theme to emerge around concerns the impact a reduction in provision could have on mental health and demand for mental health services.
Stuart North, Chief Officer for NHS Bury CCG said: “We know that infertility is a very difficult issue for those affected by it and we have spent a great deal of time considering our position and gathering feedback before making a decision.”
“We are grateful to every single individual and to the groups that responded to our consultation, and whilst there were no significant areas flagged that the CCG had not already considered, what came through loud and clear was that there was little support to move to zero funded cycles.”
“Bringing the CCG in line with the majority of other areas, and in line with the views of our Clinical Cabinet, the Governing Body agreed to reduce provision of IVF to one funded cycle for eligible patients from October 2018.”
This change in provision from October 2018 will relate to new referrals, and will not affect those couples that are already having an individual funding request referral considered, or have had funding agreed.