IVF is one element of the assisted conception service for couples who have trouble conceiving naturally. All other elements of the fertility service will continue to be fully funded.
This decision follows a formal consultation into the proposals which concluded on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Throughout the consultation period the CCG engaged face to face with over 330 Croydon residents, patients and professionals at two public meetings, over 20 drop in and outreach sessions at different locations across the borough. We have received a total of 467 written responses through the online or paper survey.
The majority of respondents, 77%, thought Croydon CCG should opt to maintain one cycle of IVF for women 39 years old or younger. In response to this feedback, the CCG explored options of whether the NHS could part fund couples for IVF, but legal advice is that this is not possible.
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Assistant Clinical Chair of the CCG and a GP in Croydon, said: “This is one of the hardest decisions of my professional career, and I wish we were not in the position of having to make it. This is a very emotional subject - and that is shown in the majority objection we have had to this proposal through the consultation. However, it is our role to look at the entirety of health needs across the borough and we have a statutory duty to prioritise the limited resources we have available to us.”
This decision has been taken because the NHS in Croydon is facing extreme financial pressures. Croydon CCG needs to make £36 million of savings next financial year, which is more than 7% of the commissioning budget for local health services of £482.3 million.
Dr Emily Symington, GP member of the Governing Body and Croydon GP, said: “An important part of the decision we have made today is that we have committed to look again at our ability to fund IVF for Croydon couples in a year’s time. I think we owe it to the people who will be affected by this decision to do everything we can in the other areas of our financial savings plan so that in the future we hope to be financially able to reinstate this funding.”
From now on the CCG will only consider applications from GPs or consultants for funding IVF for those with exceptional clinical circumstances.
Croydon couples who are already undergoing NHS IVF, those who have already had their funding approved and those couples whose routine applications have been received by the CCG as of today and who are found to meet the previous criteria for IVF will continue to receive their treatment.