A local MP has called for a review of the policy on who can receive IVF treatment on the NHS.
Dr Caroline Johnson MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham has successfully lobbied for a review of the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s policy on eligibility for IVF treatment on the NHS.
Currently, IVF treatment on the NHS is denied locally to women if their partner has a child from a previous relationship.
This was brought to Dr Johnson’s attention by his constituent, Sarah, who was advised to start looking into private IVF as she was not eligible for treatment on the NHS due to her beauty -mother.
Dr Johnson has raised his constituent’s case directly with the Lincolnshire GCC, in the House of Commons with health ministers and as part of LincsFM’s #MyFertilityMatters campaign.
The government has confirmed that it expects local NHS commissioning bodies to order fertility services in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, so that there is access fair throughout England.
Some NHS commissioners, however, set additional non-clinical criteria, which may include having children from previous relationships. This is classified as outside of best clinical practice in the NICE Fertility Guidelines.
Having recently met with Lincs CCG chief executive John Turner to discuss Dr Johnson’s concerns over this and his constituent’s case, the CCG has now confirmed that they have reached an agreement with clinical colleagues in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands region to review this policy.
They also confirmed that the concerns Dr Johnson shared with them are shared across the region. The next steps will be mobilizing the review and understanding how the review will be conducted.
Dr Johnson said: ‘It is fundamentally wrong that a woman’s access to IVF treatment is based on whether or not her partner she fell in love with has a child from a previous relationship.
“Nowhere else in healthcare do we see a situation where the medical treatment provided to one person is given based on another person’s history or situation.
“I am delighted that Lincolnshire CCG has confirmed that it is reviewing this policy and I look forward to hearing the results of its investigation.”