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The future of fertility services in west Kent – have your say

User AvatarPosted by Daniel Harper at 10/10/2018 14:27:34

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the NHS organisations that plan and pay for most of your healthcare, have to balance the need for different types of treatment against the benefits they give, which can require some difficult decisions.

In west Kent, we have already looked at several ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency, but we need to do more to free up enough money for essentials such as urgent and emergency care and cancer treatment.

In line with some other CCGs in Kent and Medway, NHS West Kent CCG is currently considering reducing the current levels of funding for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and we are inviting residents from Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells to tell us what they think.

What is IVF?
While most women who are trying to fall pregnant do so within two years, around 10 per cent of couples are unsuccessful. There are many clinical conditions that can contribute to infertility but for about a quarter of couples the reasons are not known. There are three main types of treatment, one of which is assisted conception including in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Further information about IVF treatment can be found on the NHS website.

What are we proposing?
In England, specialist fertility treatments are paid for by local CCGs, which decide how much treatment to offer their residents, based on careful evaluation of factors such as health risks, overall outcomes, population need and costs. There is national guidance but it is not binding.

For those people who meet the criteria for IVF on the NHS, we currently offer a maximum of four embryo transfers including no more than two transfers from fresh cycles.  We are now looking at reducing this to a maximum of two embryo transfers; one using a fresh embryo and one using a frozen embryo, created during the same cycle.

What is a cycle of IVF?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines a full cycle of IVF  as one in which one or two embryos produced from eggs collected after ovarian stimulation are replaced into the womb as fresh embryos (where possible), with any remaining good‑quality embryos frozen for use. When these frozen embryos are used later, this is still considered to be part of the same cycle. 

How much does IVF cost the NHS in west Kent? About 180 patients registered with west Kent  GPs  receive NHS funding for IVF at a cost of more than £800,000.

How you can give us your views
We would like to hear from local residents, people with experience of fertility services, clinical staff and those working within the NHS.  We are keen to hear from people of all ages, in particular younger men and people who identify as LGBQT, who are often underrepresented in our surveys.

Please complete this survey to tell us what you think.

The survey closes on 1st December 2018.

Please contact us if you have any questions nelcsu.engagement@nhs.net