Fertility Network UK, a charity which monitors the provision of IVF fertility treatment, believes that some areas of England are cutting back on the treatment in order to save money (http://fertilitynetworkuk.org/stricter-access-criteria-for-nhs-ivf-in-richmond/).
The charity considers that IVF treatment has been restricted or halted in 13 areas since January and eight other parts of England are consulting on taking similar steps.
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends that women aged under 40 should be offered 3 full cycles of IVF treatment if they have been trying to conceive for a total of 2 years. However, an NHS England spokesperson said that the decision on whether to offer free IVF treatment is a decision for Clinic Commissioning Groups who “are under an obligation to balance the various competing demands on the NHS locally while living within the budget parliament has allocated”.
Hannah Hughes, a lawyer within our Medical Negligence department commented on the restrictions that are taking place:
“Whilst we recognise that the NHS needs to balance the provision of IVF treatment against other services, the implications of restricting the treatment to only one cycle or just to women aged 30 to 35, will be devastating to those women who are already going through the distress of being unable to conceive. Once again we are seeing disparities in service provision based on post codes and this is partly as a result of funding decisions being made by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) rather than nationally.
We represent a number of customers with sub-fertility due to medical negligence and will seek to recover the costs of any additional IVF cycles to offset any NHS shortfall however, for those other women who are dependent upon their local fertility clinic these decisions will only serve to add to their distress and we would urge the NHS to apply a consistent and fair policy throughout the UK in line with NICE guidance”.
Read more here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40848097