Sleaford MP urges Lincolnshire NHS leaders to review policy on IVF treatment

MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, Dr Caroline Johnson, has successfully pressed for a review into the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s policy on who is able to receive IVF treatment on the NHS.

Sleaford and NOrth Hykeham MP Dr Caroline Johnson (bottom left) meets via video ink with Lincolnshire CCG officials. EMN-220331-170609001
Sleaford and NOrth Hykeham MP Dr Caroline Johnson (bottom left) meets via video ink with Lincolnshire CCG officials. EMN-220331-170609001

The MP says that currently, IVF treatment on the NHS is being denied to women locally if their partner has a child from a previous relationship.

This was brought to the attention of Dr Johnson by a constituent, Sarah, who was advised to begin looking into private IVF as she was not eligible to have treatment on the NHS due to being a stepmum.

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Dr Johnson has been raising her constituent’s case directly with Lincolnshire’s CCG, in the House of Commons with Health Ministers and as part of a local radio campaign.

The Government confirmed that it expects local NHS commissioning bodies to commission fertility services in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guidelines, so that there is equitable access across England.

Some NHS commissioners, however, set additional non-clinical criteria, which can include having children from previous relationships. This is classed as outside the best clinical practice within the NICE fertility guidelines.

After recently meeting with the Chief Executive of Lincolnshire CCG, John Turner, to discuss Dr Johnson’s concerns on this issue and the case of her constituent, the CCG have now confirmed that they have reached agreement with clinical colleagues in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands region to review this policy. They have also confirmed that the concerns Dr Johnson has been raising with them are shared across the region.

The next steps will be to mobilise the review and understand how it will be conducted.

Commenting, Dr Johnson said: “It is fundamentally wrong that a woman’s access to IVF treatment is based on whether or not her partner with whom she has fallen in love has a child from a previous relationship.

“Nowhere else in health care do we see a situation where the medical treatment provided to a person is given on the basis on another person’s history or situation.

“I am delighted that Lincolnshire CCG have confirmed they are reviewing this policy and I look forward to learning the outcomes of their investigation.”