Public consultation launched

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Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has begun a public consultation seeking views on a proposed change in policy for specialist fertility services.

A change in policy would affect anyone registered with a GP in the districts of Braintree, Chelmsford or Maldon who might be looking to receive specialist fertility services free of charge on the NHS.

The consultation, which will run until September 8th, is seeking views from the public and patients alongside clinical and fertility experts on three options:

Option 1 – No change to the existing policy

Option 2 – Tighten restrictions from three cycles to one cycle of IVF

Option 3 – Restrict specialist fertility treatment to two groups:

  • cancer patients who wish to preserve fertility before treatment
  • Men who are HIV positive and where there is a high risk of viral transmission to their female partner

Online surveys, written feedback and comments, meetings and open workshops will all form part of the consultation over the coming months.

Feedback will be independently collated, analysed and summarised into a report which, together with commissioning and financial information, will be considered and a final decision on policy made by the Mid Essex CCG Board during its public meeting on September 25.

Donald McGeachy, Medical Director for Mid Essex CCG, said: “There was a view raised during consultative discussions in autumn 2012, that we should consider reducing expenditure on specialist fertility services. Finding other ways to make savings, we continued to stay in line with NICE guidelines on fertility for as long as possible.

“Since then, healthcare demands have continued to rise. The pressure on funds is even greater. We need to face these difficult decisions to cut spending in the short term, while we transform and improve healthcare for the long term. It’s important that local people know the position and have the opportunity to say what they think.”

Three open public events are being held in July. The events are designed to involve people in discussions about the full picture of commissioning plans for the next five years, but there will be an opportunity during the workshops to hear views on specialist fertility services (see dates below).

Full information about the consultation, surveys and the open public events is available here.