Ipswich vlogger mum speaks out as future of Suffolk IVF treatment to come under scrutiny
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Controversial proposals to cut IVF treatment offered to Suffolk couples will go before a meeting of commissioners next week.
Agenda papers for the meeting, set to be chaired by the Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning group’s governing body, show reducing the number of cycles offered to one or zero could save medics hundreds of thousands of pounds.
But after 800 people across the county had their say on the issue, medics have recommended the governing body keep it as it is – at two cycles.
Although this is one less than recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), it is one more than 80% of other CCGs across the country.
Ipswich mum-of-one Jules Furness travelled to Prague for her IVF treatment because waiting lists in the UK were too long.
But the vlogger, who is mum to adopted son Josh, two, said to reduce the number of cycles offered in Suffolk would be “short sighted and picking on a vulnerable group of the population”.
“The majority of people who have fertility problems have them due to no fault of their own,” she added.
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“Living healthy lifestyles, not burdening the NHS in other ways. Paying their taxes the same as everyone else.
“However the NHS currently funds treatments for those who have caused their own illnesses through lifestyle such as drinking, smoking and being overweight. It doesn’t seem a fair system to me.
She added: “I think it’s short sighted [to cut IVF services] and picking on a vulnerable group of the population – those with infertility. Those that are often silent due to the privacy and stigma of it.”
A spokesman for the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said the decision to recommend two cycles comes after reviewing public feedback.
“We take the inclusion of the patients in our area in our decisions seriously,” the spokesman said.
“We aimed to get as many people’s views as possible, and over the summer were out and about at events across the area talking with people face-to-face and having valuable and constructive discussions about these proposals and the wider question of how the NHS can save money to ensure the future viability of the NHS locally. We received almost 1,400 pieces of individual feedback.
“We have reviewed the feedback, which included clinical input, and - as we are still seeing a steady financial state because of the review of our contracts over the summer - a recommendation is being made at next week’s Governing Body to retain two cycles of IVF services.
The spokesman added: “The feedback has demonstrated there is a need for a more coordinated service which supports vulnerable groups so they can access the right services for their needs, including health, social care and housing.
“While no decisions are being made until next week, this stage could not have been reached without the input of local people who gave their views and joined the discussion. It highlights the importance of good public engagement.”
Watch Jules’ vlogs by visiting http://julesf.me/Watch