SPECIALIST IVF services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are to be axed as cash-strapped NHS bosses try desperately to balance the books.
Thousands had signed a petition against the closure of the specialist fertility services that were pioneered in Cambridgeshire 40 years ago.
The decision leaves couples heartbroken as the clinical commissioning group (CCG) tries to find a staggering £46.5 million in cuts this financial year.
But Cambridge Keep Our NHS Public chair Dr Margaret Ridley said just £700,000 would be saved by the closure.
“It’s not clear where the remaining cuts to services will be made,” she warned.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG chairman Dr Gary Howsam said it was a financially necessary decision but understands people will be disappointed.
He said: “The CCG has finite resources to fund a whole range of health services and treatments. We need to save £46.5m this financial year, and so we have had to review all areas of our spending and to make some difficult decisions.”
But Unison regional officer Jo Rust said the decision was an attack on the NHS principle of treatment provided on the basis of need, not means and would save the CCG less than a million pounds.
The withdrawal would mean “IVF will only be available to those in very well-paid jobs,” she said, adding that couples present when the decision was announced were “literally heartbroken.
“To them, this decision is life-changing in the worst possible way. Unison would have liked to explore cheaper providers of IVF to reduce costs but not stop it altogether.”
The CCG said the decision to suspend provision of specialist fertility services will take immediate effect.