The Governing Body of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has today (5 Feb 2020) agreed to reinstate IVF provision across Colchester and Tendring – bringing the number of cycles offered in line with Suffolk.
NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk already provide two cycles of NHS funded IVF and recently renewed their contracts with Bourn Hall, the world’s first IVF clinic.
Bourn Hall was first awarded the NHS contract in 2009. It is the only clinic to be reselected three times. With clinics at Colchester, Wickford, Cambridge and Norwich it is also the only NHS provider to be based in the region.
Commenting on the announcement by NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, Bourn Hall Clinic’s Medical Director Dr Thanos Papathanasiou said:
“We are delighted that NHS North East Essex CCG has taken this positive step which will provide a fairer entitlement to NHS-funded fertility treatment for patients across Suffolk and North East Essex.
“Now all patients within the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) will have the same pathway. If they require IVF treatment and meet the strict eligibility criteria they will be offered two NHS funded cycles of IVF and can choose to have their treatment at any of Bourn Hall’s clinics across the Eastern region.”
Bourn Hall is committed to getting patients pregnant as soon as possible with minimum intervention. It offers testing to enable early diagnosis of infertility to both NHS and self-funded patients and has found that its free fertility advice sessions – which it offers to everyone – have been successful in improving the chances of natural conception.
Dr Papathanasiou continues: “The majority of couples will get pregnant within a year of trying. For those that don’t, we often find that practical advice along with good nutrition, a healthy BMI and medication to increase egg production can help increase the chances of natural conception for many people.
“However, for a small group of people IVF is the only chance of having a baby. This is the final stage of the fertility journey and it seems unfair that access to this medical treatment depends on your GP’s address. Today’s announcement by NHS North East Essex CCG removes the IVF postcode lottery for people living in north east Essex.”
NHS IVF funding in the East of England is a complicated story. We have produced a map which is updated whenever the situation changes – take a look on our blog here.