Bedfordshire health group agrees to carry on funding IVF

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Couples trying for a baby will still be able to access specialist fertility services on the NHS following a decision taken at Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (BCCG’s) Governing Body yesterday (Thursday).

The decision follows a 12-week public consultation, attracting more than 1,000 responses, on whether gluten-free foods, over the counter medicines and specialist fertility services should continue to be provided by the NHS in Bedfordshire.

After considering the wide-ranging feedback, the Governing Body voted in favour of no longer funding gluten-free foods and over the counter medicines on the NHS in Bedfordshire, but to continue to commission specialist fertility services in line with BCCG’s current policy.

Dr Alvin Low, Clinical Chair BCCG and Clinical Lead for the consultation said: “At Bedfordshire CCG we always put the voice of clinicians and patients at the heart of what we do.

“However, the case for change that accompanied the consultation remains, we still have more demand on our budget than we have budget to spend. We have a responsibility to do everything that we can to live within our means, and we will regularly review the services that we offer to ensure they best meet the needs of the entire population of Bedfordshire.”

Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness said: ‘It is heartening to hear that health bosses in Bedfordshire have listened to the views of patients and the public and have committed to continuing to fund NHS fertility services. The news will be an enormous relief to the 1 in 6 couples who need medical help in order to become parents.’

Susan Seenan, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, added: ‘We are reassured to see that Bedfordshire clinical commissioning group has recognised the benefits of providing a fertility service and has sensibly chosen to avoid the potential health risks and economic consequences of decommissioning NHS IVF.’