IVF services under threat in Luton with three cycles of NHS treatment potentially reduced to one

Consultation could also lead to withdrawal of gluten-free bread and flour currently available on prescription

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:24 pm

People with fertility issues and those who need a gluten free diet could lose out under recommendations from the health body in charge of services across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

A public consultation into fertility and gluten free services offered on the NHS in Luton is being launched from October 12.

The aim is to streamline services between the three areas, known as the BLMK.

Currently Luton offers three rounds of IVF treatment, compared to Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes which both only offer one round

Currently Luton offers three rounds of invitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, compared to Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes which both only offer one round. It is also the only group which offers gluten-free foods (bread and flour) on prescription.

The BLMK at its meeting on September 28 agreed its preferred option would be to bring Luton in line with the two other areas, withdrawing the gluten-free bread and flour available on prescription in Luton (whilst ensuring access when appropriate), and reducing the current offer of three cycles of IVF to residents in Luton to one cycle for all eligible patients, and to extend access to the service.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group chair, said: “Ultimately, the consultation is about collating the views. It is the CCG that has to make the difficult decisions about what to commission based on evidence.

“Of course, it isn't just about the money, it's also about value for money and whether or not three [fertility] cycles offer that or not, for example. So it is a complex argument.”

The public consultation is planned to be held from October 12, 2021 through to December 21, 2021. More details will follow soon.

The governing body will make its decision on the realignments in February 2022.

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