COUPLES in some parts of Ryedale will not be able to get IVF treatment on the NHS this year after health bosses said they could not afford the service.

In a narrow vote, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body, which met on Thursday, decided to delay the commissioning of IVF services for 2014/15.

The decision will affect patients registered with GP practices in Helmsley, Pickering, Kirkbymoorside and Terrington.

Dr Tim Hughes, GP member of the Governing Body, said the group had made the decision with a heavy heart.

“The commissioning of IVF services carries a great element of financial risk for the CCG and with prevalence data highlighting that approximately 110 couples a year will come forward for IVF treatment, the cost pressure could be as much as £2m per year,” he said.

“To put this into perspective, in a year, £2m equates to either two fully-staffed and operational hospital wards, 293 major hip replacements, treatment for more than 21,500 average attendances at accident and emergency departments or 43 qualified nurses employed full-time for a year.”

Dr Hughes said the decision was just one of many tough choices that the Governing Body needed to make through an open and transparent decision process.

“I must emphasise that this is a temporary position. The aspiration to meet National Institute for Clinical Excellence criteria and to commission IVF services for couples in the Vale of York still remains,” he said.

The Vale of York is the only place in the UK not to offer at least one cycle of IVF to couples who cannot conceive naturally.

Last month, the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG Governing Body confirmed the reintroduction of IVF treatment for women in its area.

The Governing Body agreed to commission one cycle for 18 to 42-year-olds.

A commitment was given to review 12 months after implementation, with a view to increasing the number of cycles funded in 2016/17 if financially viable once demand is established.

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