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Healthwatch challenges local health commissioner’s decision to suspend fertility services

20/09/2017

The decision to suspend fertility services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is against national guidance and will have a huge impact on those affected, particularly poorer people.

Val Moore, Chair of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has written to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group following their decision to suspend fertility services.

Val said, ‘Following the debate at the CCG Governing Body meeting on 5th September, I am clear that this is a tough decision but also a wrong decision.’

‘These infertility treatments are safe and effective, and deemed cost-effective if NICE guidance is followed.’

‘The CCG discussion indicated a commitment to understand the impacts on the local population, but it is illogical and wrong to stop a service with such a robust underpinning evidence base to then evaluate it, and with blatantly limited resources to do so.’

‘It is wrong to address cost cutting of specific services in isolation of a systematic process involving the public to inform priorities.  The public will want to know, ‘what is next, and why is that service next?’

‘We acknowledge the funding pressures for the NHS in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and that there are specific expectations of NHS England that tough decisions need to be made. There is no doubt that the decision made to suspend treatments until review in April 2019 has been a tough one.’

Our Board has asked the CCG three questions:

  • When will the review of services happen, will it start or finish by April 2019?
  • How will the CCG consider exceptions for funding?
  • What will the CCG do to make sure they understand people’s values and priorities when they are making tough decisions on their behalf?

We have offered to help support conversations with local people and organisations. This will include listening to the experiences of people affected by the decision. We also want to look at the effect the decision could have on local people as part of a proper health impact assessment. 


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Val Moore's letter to Dr Gary Howsam at the CCG

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