New Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have now come into force, taking over control of NHS spending locally from previous Primary Care Trusts.
Many of the now-defunct PCTs had come under fire for not following NICE guidelines and withdrawing or imposing strict criteria for NHS IVF treatment in their regions. So is it likely that under the new Clinical Commissioning Groups - made up of local GPs who may have a better understanding of the immediate needs of patients in their areas - the NHS IVF postcode lottery will cease?
The news that Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, which has taken over NHS North Yorkshire and York PCT, is planning to reinstate IVF NHS treatment if funding allows is already a promising glimpse that perhaps, finally, those who need IVF will finally get the help they need.
NHS North Yorkshire and York was one of the few PCTs to stop NHS IVF funding altogether. And here at Manchester Fertility, we have certainly seen a rise in the number of people from this area that we are helping to have a baby, with people traveling from York and surrounding areas to get our expert help.
Now the new bosses of the new Vale of York CCG say they ‘aspire’ to bring back NHS IVF treatment, in line with NICE guidelines which were recently updated to ensure better and faster access to treatment.
They are hoping that once any deficit is paid they may be in a position to become NICE compliant, which means offering three cycles of IVF to women along with offering treatment to older women.
But this doesn’t mean of course that treatment will be available on the NHS quickly, in areas which previously limited it or stopped funding it altogether. If new CCGs decide to examine their budgets with a view to offering NHS IVF treatment, it could take considerable time for the money to become available, depending upon the financial situation they are taking on board from the outgoing PCT.
So although the new CCGs are potentially good news, it could be many, many months before we start to see an end to the NHS IVF postcode lottery. Let’s hope that more CCGs aspire to give infertility the attention it deserves as Vale of York are doing.
Remember that if you are entitled to NHS IVF where you live, then you don’t have to attend your local NHS fertility unit. You can request for this funding to be transferred to a private IVF clinic such as Manchester Fertility. Find out how here in our handy guide.
If you need IVF or other treatment but find yourself on an NHS waiting list, at Manchester Fertility we have no waiting lists for any of our treatments. If you are aged between 18 and 35 and are in good health with no serious medical history, and are willing to become an egg donor, then you could join our egg-sharing programme and receive a cycle of IVF with us at a heavily subsidised rate. For more details about egg-sharing, click here.