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IVF cuts in Somerset criticised by campaigners

Feet of newborn baby
Image caption Health bosses claim the cutback in IVF cycles will enable them to reduce waiting times

Campaigners say they are appalled by a decision to cut the number of IVF cycles offered in Somerset

Health officials say reducing the number of treatments from two to one will help "improve outcomes" for women.

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the cuts would reduce waiting times for IVF from three to two years.

Campaigners said the decision to "slash NHS fertility treatment" ignored "patient need and public demand".

Lucy Watson, from Somerset CCG, said while she understood it was "heartbreaking for people who want every opportunity to have a child," on balance she believed the decision to cut provision was the right one.

"The longer you wait and the older you get, the poorer the outcome for women having fertility treatment," she said.

Sarah Norcross, from campaign group Fertility Fairness, said she was "appalled" by the decision and the public had been "let down".

Somerset CCG also agreed IVF would no longer be available to couples where one of the people in the relationship already has a child.

The new IVF eligibility criteria will come into effect from the beginning of April.

The governing body of the CCG says it will review the policy within two years.

Number of IVF cycles offered

Across the West region

  • 3 from Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

  • 3 from Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group

  • 3 from Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group

  • 1 from Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group

  • 1 from each of the other Clinical Commissioning Groups

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