Steve McCabe MP will take his Bill to Parliament on Friday 15 March 2019 for its Second Reading and he hopes the government are listening.
The Access to Fertility Services Bill reached an important milestone and will be printed in Parliament this week. The Bill sets out the campaign’s key demands:
– ENDING the postcode lottery of access to IVF by ensuring that clinical guidelines and quality standards produced by NICE are followed when assessing eligibility
– It explicitly prohibits the use of eligibility criteria based on non-clinical factors relating to either partner
– Bringing the pricing of NHS fertility services under the NHS National Tariff Payment system which would address the vast difference in pricing for a cycle of IVF for different CCGs.
Steve first began his campaign for fair access to IVF treatment after being contacted by constituents who were denied IVF based on arbitrary moral criteria which had nothing to do with medical eligibility and did not follow guidelines set by NICE. Steve found that there are huge variations across different areas, for example only 34 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) provide 3 cycles of IVF in line with NICE guidance whereas 175 CCGs provide 0-2 cycles.
Data obtained by Campaign Group Fertility Fairness shows that 7 CCGs have stopped offering IVF on the NHS entirely. 12 deny treatment to women over 34 and 85 CCGs have cut IVF for women over 29 – despite NICE guidelines outlining women should be eligible for IVF up to 42 years old.
Fertility Fairness previously reported that the number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England offering the recommended 3 IVF cycles to eligible women under 40 has halved in the last 5 years: just 12 per cent now follow national guidance, down from 24 per cent in 2013. The number of CCGS which have removed IVF treatment from the NHS completely has almost doubled in the last year
Steve also discovered that the cost of a single cycle is reported as varying by as much as £1300 to £6000 depending on where you left live in the country. This is ridiculous and there is clearly a need for a national tariff along with national guidelines that are adhered to by all CCG’s in England.
Charities have come together to launch their #Scream4IVF petition which has got over 100,000 signatures showing just how much support there is to end this injustice.
The chances of his Bill making progress on Friday are slim but Steve McCabe argues that there are two ways the Government can rescue his Bill if it really wants to help those suffering with the nightmare of Infertility and denied access to NHS treatment. They could either make time available for his Bill following the recent example of the way they fast tracked the Female Genital Mutilation Bill or they could simply agree to add the Bill’s clauses to a future Government Bill.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“Access to IVF should be based on medical need and not where you live or some moral judgement made by faceless commissioners. My Bill calls for reasonable and fair changes to the law to ensure that commissioners adhere to national NICE guidelines and would create a national tariff for IVF across England to end the ridiculous situation where different CCGs pay different costs for the same treatment.
“Infertility is a disease and this is ultimately about fairness. Denying women and their partners IVF treatment on the basis of non-medical reasons is just wrong and I hope the Government will support my Bill one way or another on Friday.”