NHS IVF treatment may still be available for some Cambridge patients

Cambridge in Winter - NHS IVF treatment may still be available for some Cambridge patients

There is unexpected good news for some Cambridge and Peterborough patients who need NHS IVF treatment. Bourn Hall has gained clarification from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that those referred by their GP for fertility testing (not just IVF) before 6th September 2017 may still be eligible for one cycle of treatment.

“We think this new information might be good news for about 40 couples that had started fertility investigations but had not yet been referred for IVF before the cut-off,” says Rebecca Ward, Lead Patient Service Administrator for Bourn Hall Clinic.

Since the CCG announced that it was cutting all funding for IVF on the 6th September 2017, Rebecca has had the difficult job of explaining to young Cambridgeshire couples that unless they were able to self-fund they would not be able to access treatment. She hopes that some of these people will get back in contact as it has emerged that there has been confusion about eligibility.

She says: “We were informed by the Cambridge and Peterborough CCG, following the consultation decision on 5th September, that only patients referred by their hospital for IVF would retain funding.

“However, at our Fertility Fayre in November we were talking to people who were struggling with infertility and realised that some had been given different information about the availability of funding.

“Some of the couples said they had been told they could still get funding. So we asked the CCG to confirm the situation and were given some surprising news.”

The Associate Director of Contracts for the Cambridge and Peterborough CCG has clarified in a letter to Bourn Hall on 24th November 2017:

Patients referred by their GP for fertility testing before 6th September 2017 are subject to the conditions that were in place at the time of referral.

As such if it is identified that they require IVF and meet the eligibility criteria of the suspended Assisted Conception policy they continue to be eligible for 1 cycle of IVF (1 fresh and 1 frozen implant).

This means that some patients who are still going through testing or treatment at their NHS hospital with drugs such as clomid may still have a chance to gain an NHS funded cycle of IVF at Bourn Hall; if it is decided that it is an appropriate treatment for them and they meet the eligibility criteria.

Rebecca continues: “Before the funding was cut on 6th September we would get about 7-10 enquiries a month from people choosing to come to Bourn Hall for NHS IVF treatment. So we estimate there must be about 40 couples who would still be eligible for treatment.”

NHS IVF funding

Rebecca Ward, Lead Patient Services Administrator, Bourn Hall
Rebecca Ward, Lead Patient Services Administrator, Bourn Hall

Bourn Hall recommends that patients contact their GP to discuss their options but warns that the 104 GPs in the Cambridge and Peterborough CCG area may also be unaware that some of their patients may still be eligible for funding.

As the information they received in ‘GP News’ on 8th September was the same as the news announcement, which stated that only patients that had already been referred for IVF before the 6th September would be funded.

Rebecca is urging couples that think they may meet the criteria to get in touch.

“We think that only a quarter of those who would previously been funded are coming forward for treatment, suggesting that many have given up on their hope of having children. Now the situation is clearer we might be able to help these couples.”

To talk to Rebecca please call 01954 717210 or use the contact form on the website.

More information

To contact Bourn Hall patient services click here.

Read more about the NHS IVF funding available in the region here.

Find out more about Bourn Hall’s NHS funding options here.

To find out about free mini-consultation with Fertility Nurse Specialist.

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