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Anger at Clinical Commissioning Group delaying release of free IVF findings

By Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporter

The decision by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to delay announcing whether or not it will reinstate free IVF treatment has led to angry outbursts on social media.

Bourn Hall, where IVF was pioneered 40 years ago, want free IVF re-introduced in our area.
Bourn Hall, where IVF was pioneered 40 years ago, want free IVF re-introduced in our area.

The Board of the CCG held its monthly meeting (May 14), and afterwards released a statement which said: “Due to the extension of the pre-election period for European Elections and the Peterborough by-election, we will not be bringing our findings and recommendations in relation to specialist fertility services to our May meeting, but will be discussing this after the election period.”

However, the announcement has led to some angry outbursts on social media with one woman posting: “These delays are utterly disgraceful. People have hopes and lives waiting on these decisions, decisions that have already been delayed far too long. You are playing with emotions, delaying indefinitely again – I feel so sorry for all the people hanging on hoping and waiting.”

A man said: “My wife and I have been waiting for this day for months. I’ve just had to show this to her and she’s devastated. The incompetence is staggering. We now have to put our lives on hold indefinitely even longer. Shambolic.”

While another woman added: “We had everything crossed that we would stop being in the three per cent of heartless districts that offer no cycles. I am so upset that our future hopes have just been crossed out on an agenda with a swift pen stroke without a thought of the consequences.”

And another woman said: “Any explanation as to why, or what relevance it has? Twice this has been pushed back now. This is like dangling candy in front of a baby and constantly snatching it away. Clearly there is no regard for the emotions of those it involves, as if the situation isn’t hard enough.”

Free fertility treatment on the NHS was scrapped in Cambridgeshire in 2017 – the county where the procedure was pioneered 40 years ago – but the decision has saved £700,000 a year according to the CCG.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area became the third place in the UK to withdraw free IVF treatment through the NHS, despite Government guidelines recommending that women under 40 should be offered a minimum of three free cycles if they have been trying to conceive for three years or more.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said: “The decision to delay the announcement of our findings is regrettable but necessary in the current political climate; we will make an announcement as to a new date when our findings and recommendations will be announced.”

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