A CHARITY which supports couples who are struggling to conceive has welcomed the news that Scarborough and Ryedale CCG are planning to reinstate funding for fertility treatment.
Susan Seenan, chief executive of Infertility Network UK said they were delighted to hear that the CCG had recognised the importance of funding fertility treatment and were now looking at reintroducing this service for patients in the area.
"Guidance set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends up to three cycles of treatment for eligible couples and yet 10 years since the guideline was first published we are still facing an arbitrary approach to IVF funding around the country," she added.
“Scarborough’s decision means that the only area in the whole of the UK failing to fund any NHS treatment will be Vale of York and we hope now that they too will now review their policy. Let’s not forget that infertility is a medical condition and that people with a fertility problem have the same right to be treated by the NHS as anyone else.”
The former Primary Care Trust ceased funding IVF in 2011 due to financial pressures,.
However at the CCG’s Governing Body meeting held in public at Ryedale District Council last week, Carrie Wollerton, Executive Nurse on the Governing Body., recommended the establishment of a working group to further investigate options for reintroducing IVF.
The recommendation received wide support from other Governing Body members.
Mrs Wollerton said that although the funding of IVF did not feature on the CCG’s financial plans for 2014/15, funding should still be considered, particularly in light of moves by neighbouring CCGs to reintroduce some form of IVF treatment.
She added: “Due to the fact the CCG has managed to achieve its target of ending the financial year with a one percent surplus, and in line with our promise to review the commissioning position around IVF after our first year of operation, it is encouraging that the Governing Body has supported this recommendation.
“There are various factors we must now consider in terms of reintroducing IVF, including things like the number of cycles to commission and the criteria for who is eligible to receive them. It’s important however that all these factors are considered alongside any financial implications, as well as their fit with guidance from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).”
Although no specific deadline was given by the CCG for the reintroduction of IVF, it has given a commitment to establishing the working group and reaching a decision as soon as possible on the level of service to be commissioned.