Steve McCabe MP calls on the Government to stop the decommissioning of IVF services

Steve McCabe MP has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for the Government to act quickly and stop Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across England from reducing or entirely decommissioning their assisted conception services. There have already been three CCGs (South Norfolk, Mid-Essex CCG and North East)in England who have decommissioned their assisted conception services in the past year and now a further twenty-six are either considering reducing provision or decommissioning their assisted conception services entirely as a cost saving measure.

The news of possible further decommissioning of IVF services comes against a back-drop of inconsistent provision across England which is being exacerbated by the Government’s unrealistic demand that the NHS make £22 billion efficiency savings.Already, less than two in ten CGGs in England comply with the national NICE guidelines on IVF treatment including CCGs across Birmingham which only offer one cycle of IVF treatment instead of three. Steve is also calling on the Government to ensure CCGs adopt the NICE guidelines in full so that patients in Birmingham are treated fairly and given the best chance of successful treatment.

Working with Fertility Fairness, Steve has already gained cross-party support for the EDM and hopes that many more MPs will recognise the rapid deterioration of IVF provision in England by adding their signatures. Members of the public can write to their MPs at www.writetothem.com asking them to show their support for people affected by the ongoing reductions to assisted conception services by signing the EDM.

Steve McCabe said:

“We already have a situation where IVF services are subject to a postcode lottery and couples are routinely unable to access an appropriate level of treatment. As CCGs desperately try to balance their budgets, we face the risk of widespread decommissioning of IVF services across England. This comes down to fairness and it certainly isn’t fair that where you live determines whether you are able to access IVF services.”

“I hope the EDM will raise awareness about the potential scale of this issue. Up to twenty-nine CCGs in England could soon be operating with a severely reduced assisted conception service or worse still, no service at all. MPs from all parties need to work together on this issue and develop a consensus that the same commissioning rules apply across the country.

“Two of my constituents were refused IVF treatment earlier this year because their partners had children from a previous relationship. This kind of 'moral judgment'  shouldn't be used to deny treatment. The Government must now recognise the pressure that these decisions have on couples’ health and relationships by ensuring that CCGs comply with the national NICE guidelines on IVF treatment.”

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