Essex

Plans to cut IVF in Basildon and Brentwood an 'insult' to patients

IVF Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The CCG is now holding a series of public meetings to discuss the plans

Plans to axe IVF treatment for new couples in part of Essex is an "insult" to those seeking fertility treatment, a patient body has said.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to cut the service as part of plans to tackle a £14m deficit.

Fertility Fairness said: "Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system and as such is worthy of treatment."

John Leslie, of the CCG, said: "We have a legal duty to live within our means."

'Plans insulting'

The CCG, which is holding a series of public meetings to discuss the plans, has proposed:

  • The end of funding for In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) although tests to diagnose fertility problems would continue
  • Stopping NHS sterilisation procedures for men and women because they are of "limited clinical value"
  • The ending of gluten free prescribed foods because these products are now "widely available to buy"
  • A stop to funding on the NHS of cosmetic surgery such as breast reduction and replacement, although funding reconstructive surgery, not for cosmetic reasons, will continue
  • An end to e-cigarettes on NHS prescription

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, said: "The announcement today is appalling. For people not to realise it is a health need is, I think, insulting to all those facing fertility problems."

Mr Leslie said: "We believe these proposed measures represent a way to help us make important savings while having the lowest possible impact on patient care.

"We do recognise however that some people will be more affected than others and we are keen to listen to the impact these proposals may have before we make any decisions on how to proceed."

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