Free IVF treatment is stopped in Cambridgeshire as part of a money saving programme to save thousands

Free IVF services are being cut in Cambridgeshire

Free IVF services are being cut in Cambridgeshire - Credit: Archant

Free treatment to help women realise their dream of having a baby has been stopped in Cambridgeshire despite a petition of almost 2,300 signatures.

The first round of IVF, previously given for free in the county on the NHS, will be stopped and patients must pay for it themselves.

The move is part of a wider cut back programme to save £46.5m.

It has prompted a promise that the IVF service will run at a lower cost of private clinics and with all funds ploughed back into the NHS.

Stephen Harbottle, consultant embryologist at Cambridge IVF, said that despite the disappointment, they were fully committed to working with patients from Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

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“While we fully understand the very difficult financial position the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group is in, we know the decision will be met with worry by our patients,” he said.

“As the assisted conception service provided by Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie, we will continue to provide coordinated fertility treatment and a well-established and recognised patient pathway.

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“Anyone who is concerned or has questions should not hesitate to contact us or drop into one of our Tuesday evening sessions.”

Dr Gary Howsam, chairman and chief clinical officer, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, said: “I would encourage anyone with fertility problems to go to their GP who can discuss treatment options available.

“Couples can still be referred to hospital for further tests to investigate the cause of their infertility.

“Many causes can be successfully treated without the need to go on to IVF.

“The response to the consultation showed people feel strongly about this issue.

“This was a very difficult decision and we understand people will be disappointed.

“We need to save £46.5m this financial year so we have had to review all areas of our spending and make some difficult decisions.”

The decision will be reviewed in April 2019, he added.

• Anyone with questions about IVF can drop into the clinic at Kefford House, Maris Lane, Trumpington, Cambridge, between 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday, September 12, 19 or 26. No appointment necessary.

• Patients from the East Midlands area are unaffected by the announcement, and will still be able to access NHS assisted conception services at Cambridge IVF.

• Cambridge IVF was opened in December 2011 and sees more than 200 patients a year.

• The decision was taken following a 20 week public consultation with 1,311 responses.

• Couples already referred for specialist fertility services will still receive one cycle of free IVF.

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