Budget cuts could hit Suffolk’s IVF services

Dr Ed Garratt, CCG chief officer  ENGANL00120121129133538
Dr Ed Garratt, CCG chief officer ENGANL00120121129133538

Fertility treatment and help for vulnerable adults could bear the brunt of cost cutting in Suffolk’s health funding.

NHS West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups are consulting the public on how they should achieve £13 million of ‘cost efficiencies’.

The two CCGs say their first proposal to cut costs is to reduce access to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

They currently fund two cycles of IVF for women aged up to 40, and one cycle for women aged 40–42. The CCGs want to hear peoples’ views on reducing IVF treatment to one cycle only for eligible patients or only allowing people to apply for individual funding for IVF in certain circumstances.

They add: “Under these plans, the current IVF service provision would be restricted as it does not provide sufficient benefit to the overall health economy.”

The second proposal is to focus the Marginalised and Vulnerable Adults (MVA) service in the Ipswich area, where most of those who use it live. The service currently operates across east and west Suffolk and is supports homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, gypsies, travellers and roma people and ex-offenders.

Dr Ed Garratt, the CCGs’ chief officer said: “It is important we are honest and open about this financial situation. Locally, the CCGs are currently not in debt, but over the coming year they are at serious risk of spending more money than they have.

“Therefore, the clinicians, who run the CCGs along with managers, have had to think really hard about how and where they can reduce their spending. We are not making these proposals lightly and we understand that these are hugely emotive subjects.”

Comments can be made online at www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/Haveyoursay

There will be face-to-face consultations over the next eight weeks at several locations between 11am and 2pm, including: Cornhill and Buttermarket, Bury St Edmunds, July 27 and Sptember 7; Buttermarket, Stowmarket, August 4; Market Square, Newmarket, August 20; Market Square, Sudbury August 25.

Meanwhile,the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which runs the region’s mental health services, is proposing cutting 90 jobs to reduce it’s deficit by £2.8 million to £6.1 million in 2016-17.

The trust says it hopes most of the jobs can be cut by vacant ‘non-essential’ posts being left unfilled. But the union Unison says staff are already trying to run a service ‘without adequate resources’.