IVF referrals in Royston and South Cambs suspended following decision by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG

Specialist IVF services are to be suspended in Royston and South Cambs following the decision by Cam

Specialist IVF services are to be suspended in Royston and South Cambs following the decision by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG. - Credit: Getty Images/Creatas RF

People hoping to access specialist IVF treatment in Royston and South Cambs will not be able to for the foreseeable future after the decision was made yesterday to suspend routinely commisioning fertility services until April 2019.

The decision was made by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clincial Commissioning Group, following a public consultation over the summer.

Dr Gary Howsam, the CCG’s chairman and chief clinical officer, said: “Specialist IVF services are part of a range of investigations and treatments that can help couples to conceive.

“I would encourage anyone with fertility problems to go to their GP who can discuss with them the treatment options available.

“Couples can still be referred on to hospital for further tests to investigate the cause of their infertility. Many causes of infertility can be successfully treated without the need to go on to IVF.

“The response to the consultation showed that people feel strongly about this issue, and for that reason this was a very difficult decision for the governing body to make and we understand that people will be disappointed.

“The CCG has finite resources to fund a whole range of health services and treatments. We need to save £46.5 million this financial year, and so we have had to review all areas of our spending and to make some difficult decisions.

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“The decision to suspend routinely commissioning specialist fertility services is a financially necessary decision, following evaluation of the options available to us to reduce expenditure, and we have said that we will review this decision in April 2019.”

The CCG has stated that there are two exceptions to the restrictions on specialist fertility provision.

The first exception is fertility preservation for patients undergoing treatment that has a significant likelihood of making them infertile, for example for cancer.

And the second is sperm washing for men who have a chronic viral infection, such as HIV, and whose female partner does not – in order to limit the

transmission of a serious, pre-existing viral condition.

As part of the decision-making process the CCG considered the feedback received during the public consultation, and recommendations have been agreed to address concerns.

These are that the CCG will monitor through the contract, where contractually possible, multiple births via first round of IVF that have taken place abroad and any associated complications and costs, that the decision will be reviewed in April 2019 – including an assessment of the CCGs financial position – the impact of the withdrawal of the service on multiple birth levels, and the impact experienced by mental health services.

The CCG also agreed to continue to monitor any impacts on these areas between now and April 2019.

Couples who have already been referred for specialist fertility services will still receive one cycle of IVF as per the previous policy.

Are you affected by the decision? If so email the newsdesk on news@royston-crow.co.uk.