The cost of IVF treatment is being exaggerated in proposals being put before Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG to justify cutting treatment for infertility, a medical condition.
Just a week before Christmas, the CCG is considering a proposal to open a consultation on cutting IVF funding for the area, bringing the NHS funding from one cycle down to none at all.
Fertility Fairness has used a Freedom of Information Act request to gain information about the service and questions the figures released in a consultation document.
Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, said today in a BBC interview: “Infertility is a recognised medical condition, and the NHS treats lots of non-life-threatening medical problems. However, every time they look for cuts it seems to be fertility treatment that is the first thing to go.
“In the consultation document the CCG states it spent just over £1m on 131 cycles of fertility treatment; this is way too much. When we put a freedom of information request to them, they said they paid between £3,000-£6,000 a cycle so the figures in there don’t add up.
“What’s really galling about this consultation is that it comes just one week after the Minister for Health issued a statement in which she said that she was really disappointed to learn about access to IVF being reduced, and it’s unacceptable that some clinical commissioning groups have stopped commissioning it completely.
“It’s flying in the face of the government’s position on fertility treatment.”
Dr Mike Macnamee also spoke and he questioned the figures.
“We are one of five providers of NHS funded IVF, so we don’t see all the Cambridge patients, but we have provided 296 treatments this year, not 131 as stated in the consultation.
“The NICE guidelines recommend three cycles of treatment to give the highest success rate. This level of treatment would allow 8 out of 10 couples to have a baby. In Cambridge there is only one cycle of funded treatment and even this is going to be cut.
“At Christmas everyone is talking about the value and importance of family and this reinforces all that infertile couples are being deprived of a chance of enjoying.
“Cambridge is the home of Nobel prize-winning medicine that gives more people than ever the opportunity to have a baby – it is scandalous that this treatment will not be available to the few people that need it.”