Fertility treatment rules relaxed by NHS

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Women struggling to conceive in the Ryedale area will be given access to fertility treatment for the first time in more than three years.

Family doctors in Ryedale and Scarborough yesterday agreed to lift a ban introduced in 2011 by health chiefs to save cash.

The decision brings the area into line with two other clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in North Yorkshire which have already lifted bans. A decision by officials in the Vale of York has yet to be made.

Carrie Wollerton, executive nurse at NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, told a meeting of its board last week that funding should be considered in the light of moves by neighbouring organisation to reintroduce IVF.

She said: “There are various factors we must now consider in terms of reintroducing IVF, including things like the number of cycles to commission and the criteria for who is eligible to receive them.”

Campaigners yesterday claimed Yorkshire had the worst access to IVF in the country, with some people accessing none and others receiving up to three cycles of treatment.

The group IVFyes said those in East Anglia and the North East had the best access to NHS-funded fertility care but access generally fell well below the three cycles of treatment recommended.

Nicola Bates, founder of IVFyes, said: “It’s really disappointing to see that clinical commissioning groups in Yorkshire are providing such poor access to IVF treatment for couples who find themselves unable to conceive.

“This situation is blatantly unfair, and the Government needs to take address it urgently.”

Around 3,000 couples a year seek IVF treatment in Yorkshire, the majority funding it themselves. If IVF was fully funded at three cycles per couple, it is estimated treatment in the region would cost £14 million a year. But analysis suggests the cost of care in 2014-15 is instead likely to be between £7m and £8m.

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