Referral of Croydon decision on IVF and ICSI
The London Borough of Croydon's Health & Social Care Scrutiny Sub Committee has informed us that they are referring the CCG's recent decision around routine provision of IVF and ICSI* to the Secretary of State for Health.
As you will remember, last month the CCG's Governing Body took the difficult decision to fund IVF and ICSI only for those with exceptional clinical circumstances.
Making such a referral to the Secretary of State is a legal power scrutiny committees have when they are concerned about service changes proposed by the local NHS. The committee is referring this decision about IVF as they are concerned about the impact on those affected, the sustainability of local health services and the historic underfunding of NHS services in Croydon.
We understand and share the committee's concerns that Croydon residents should have access to IVF and ICSI, and indeed all appropriate NHS services. The Governing Body took this difficult decision only after careful consideration and discussion in the context of the increasingly challenging financial position faced by the NHS in Croydon.
The NHS no longer has the resources to fund everything it has done in the past and many CCGs across the country have to make difficult decisions. The decision to reduce funding for IVF and ICSI was made in light of our requirement to prioritise front line services for the people of Croydon and to live within the financial resources available to us.
On receiving the referral, the Secretary of State will review the CCG's decision process, taking evidence from the committee about its concerns. This process is expected to take a number of weeks. Councillors on the committee appreciate this was not a decision anyone at the CCG wanted to make.
Croydon couples who are already undergoing NHS IVF/ICSI, those who have already had their funding approved and those couples whose routine applications were received by the CCG as of Tuesday 14 March, and who have been found to meet the previous criteria, will continue to receive their treatment. The waiting list for IVF and ICSI is however closed, and will continue to be closed during the referral process. Other forms of fertility treatment are still available on the NHS in Croydon.
We have said previously and would like to reiterate that we will look again at our ability to routinely fund IVF and ICSI for Croydon couples in a year's time.
If you have any queries about this please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group
* IVF, In Vitro Fertilisation, and ICSI, Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, are elements of assisted conception services.