Couples in need of IVF treatment in the Devon and Bedfordshire regions are set to face even more uncertainty over the coming months after the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) for both areas announced IVF funding cuts.
The North, East and West Devon (NEW Devon) CCG has announced a review of all planned operations and treatments (also including planned caesarean births where there is no medical reason for carrying out the caesarean) as part of a series of urgent cost-cutting measures designed to save a total of £14.5 million per year. While the specific details of these measures are yet to be released, it is likely that the CCG will ignore the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and either offer patients just one cycle of funded IVF treatment (instead of the recommended three cycles) or no treatment at all, unless exceptional circumstances apply (as is the case in the Mid-Essex area).
Bedfordshire CCG has confirmed that it will be offering one cycle of treatment to women aged 23 to 39 who have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for at least three years. The Commissioning Group could have opted to offer two cycles instead of three, or could have increased the eligibility age to 42, but both of these options were deemed to be too expensive. Cambridgeshire andPeterborough CCG have also reduced the number of cycles from three to two for women aged up to 39. However, they have introduced one cycle for women aged 40–42.
Qualifying conditions and criteria will still have to be met by any women hoping to receive NHS-funded IVF treatment in both Devon and Bedfordshire, and the pressure of knowing that only one cycle will be available (if indeed one cycle is even made available to patients in the Devon area), instead of the recommended three, will only add to the stress and worry that couples have to face during treatment.