Have your say on two proposals that could save the NHS in Suffolk £1m

L-R � Katie Jacobs (IESCCG staff member); Dr Peter Holloway (GP in Mendlesham and member of clinical

L-R � Katie Jacobs (IESCCG staff member); Dr Peter Holloway (GP in Mendlesham and member of clinical executive of IESCCG) and Lucy Game (IESCCG staff member) at Stoke Park on Tuesday. - Credit: Archant

Health chiefs are urging people to have their say on proposals to scale back services in Suffolk for couples struggling to conceive and groups including refugees and travellers.

Dr Juno Jesuthasan

Dr Juno Jesuthasan - Credit: Archant

Around 900 people have already shared their views on plans drawn up by Suffolk’s two main clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as they look to find £13million in savings over the next year to balance the books.

However, these suggested savings only represent around £1m and the CCGs are working on further cutbacks to address the financial situation, which will be announced and put to consultation in due course.

On Tuesday, GPs and medical staff took to the streets in seven locations across east Suffolk to answer questions and ask members of the public what they thought of the two money-saving methods.

Dr Juno Jesuthasan, a GP at Barrack Lane Medical Centre, in Ipswich, and a member of the Clinical Executive of NHS, was on the ground in Norwich Road, Ipswich.

He said: “We think it’s important in an era of cost reduction to hear what the public want.”

The first proposal is to reduce access to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). The CCGs are looking for your views on either reducing a couple’s eligibility to one cycle of treatment in order to conceive, or to cut the service completely unless the patient has certain medical conditions.

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Dr Jesuthasan said many people who he spoke to did not support the idea of stopping fertility treatment as they believed couples deserved the right to try and have children.

“People are compassionate, but they realise some form of reduction is probably needed to get that £13m target of saving for this year,” he added.

The second proposal is to close the Marginalised and Vulnerable Adults (MVA) outreach service in west Suffolk and to signpost people who benefit from this support in that area to facilities in Ipswich, where the need is greater.

The MVA service is for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, gypsies, travellers and ex-offenders. It is largely delivered through drop-in clinics and helps those people access the right healthcare service for their needs.

Dr Jesuthasan added: “With MVA there were mixed views. Some people felt that the west definitely needed some form of service and it would be a bit harsh to cut services there and expect people to come to Ipswich.”

Representatives from Onelife Suffolk, which took over from Live Well Suffolk as the county’s healthy lifestyles service in April, were also on hand in Norwich Road to conduct blood pressure tests and to refer people to stop smoking support.

“That was useful for people to know they exist,” Dr Jesuthasan said. “We think a lot of money could be saved by promoting health more effectively and giving people more services to improve their health.”

People can give feedback on the two proposals before 5pm on September 9 by completing an online form at www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/feedback; calling 01473 770014 and requesting a form; via the CCGs’ Facebook and Twitter accounts; or in person at an engagement event.

Medical staff will be available to talk to tomorrow at Mildenhall Market Square in Mildenhall from 11am to 2pm, or on September 7 at Cornhill and Buttermarket in Bury St Edmunds between 11am and 2pm.

Proposal One: Reducing cycles of fertility treatment

Since 2014 the CCGs have funded up to two years’ of IVF for women aged up to 40 and one cycle of treatment for women aged 40-42.

The proposal is to reduce all couples’ eligibility to only one cycle of treatment, or to cut the service completely unless the patient has certain medical conditions.

Who will be affected?

- Patients who are experiencing difficulty in conceiving and who would currently qualify for IVF treatment

Who will not be affected?

- Those who have already started fertility treatment

- Patients undergoing cancer care or those who are being treated for a condition that is likely to make them infertile

- Couples in which the man has a viral infection that could be passed to his partner or unborn child

- Those who are paying for their own treatment

How much money would be saved?

- £345,000 for offering one cycle

- £690,000 for cutting the service

How many people might this proposal affect?

- About 90 couples in Suffolk had IVF treatment in the last financial year

Proposal Two: Closing MVA services in west Suffolk

The Marginalised and Vulnerable Adults provision provides health services to people who are not registered with a GP or, if they are, might need more assistance through advice or direction to other services.

The proposal is to improve the support in the Ipswich area, and stop the service in the west of the county. Health chiefs aim to find ways to improve advocacy and signposting in west.

Who will be affected?

- Homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, gypsies, travellers and ex-offenders in west Suffolk after January 2017, when it is proposed the service will stop

Who will not be affected?

- People from these groups living in east Suffolk

How many people might this proposal affect?

- It is estimated about 300 people in the west of the county might be adversely affected each year

How much money would be saved?

- £369,000 across both CCGs

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