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In Vitro Fertilisation services in the Vale of York

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body met today to resume its discussions on the availability of IVF treatment and to decide upon the commissioning position for the Vale of York.

The Governing Body members discussed at length the CCG’s recommended criteria for a commissioning policy for access to infertility treatment, a policy that would have replaced the decision by NHS North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) to not routinely commission assisted conception services for the last five years.

Dr Tim Hughes, GP Member of the Governing Body said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the CCG’s Governing Body has voted to temporarily defer the commissioning of IVF services in the Vale of York for 2014-15.

“The lengthy discussion today highlighted the huge financial pressures the CCG endures whilst meeting its duty to commission safe and effective health and care services. The conversation at our public meeting concluded with a Governing Body motion to aspire to commission IVF in the future.

“The commissioning of IVF services carries a great element of financial risk for the CCG and with prevalence data highlighting that approximately 100 couples per year will come forward for IVF treatment, the cost pressure could be as much as £2 million per year.

“To put this into perspective, in a year, £2m equates to either two fully staffed and operational hospital wards, 293 major hip replacements, treatment for more than 21,500 average attendances at Accident and Emergency or 43 qualified nurses employed full time for a year.

“Today’s decision is just one of many tough choices that the Governing Body needs to make through an open and transparent decision process.

“I must emphasise that this is a temporary position. The aspiration to meet National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria and to commission IVF services for couples in the Vale of York still remains.”

The Governing Body voted five to four in favour of aspiring to commission IVF in the future but committed to readdress the availability of IVF services towards the end of the 2014-15 financial year.

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