Still time to influence policy on IVF and Specialist Fertility Services and the prescribing of over-the-counter medicines

There is still time to influence the policy on IVF and Specialist Fertility Services and the routine prescribing of ‘over-the-counter’ medicines in west Essex. West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) is asking people for their views on proposals designed to make best use of the money available to the local NHS, while helping as many people as possible to live healthier, longer lives and avoid preventable illnesses.

This comes as the CCG faces an increase in the number of people who need health service support and many people are living longer, often with complex conditions.
These proposals are about:

  • Reducing or stopping the availability of NHS-funded IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and specialist fertility services.
  • Limiting the routine prescription of medicines and products that can be bought without prescription for short-term conditions and minor ailments.

Dr Rob Gerlis, Chair of West Essex CCG said, 

“Wherever possible we are looking to make savings that won’t affect the quality of patient care. We are working more closely with our partners in the local health and social care system to avoid duplication and reduce administration costs; laying plans to make more efficient use of technology and buildings and working with those organisations that directly provide services to deliver best value for money.”

Residents in west Essex can continue to provide their comments until 14 September 2017.

The CCG would like to hear the views of local residents and groups – regardless of whether they are directly affected. As this will help shape the CCG’s thinking on how it provides these services.

There are series of meetings as part of the engagement process.

  • Tuesday 22 August
    Time: 10:00-12:00
    Venue: St Andrews Church Hall, Harlow, CM20 3AF
  • Thursday 31 August
    Time: 18:30-20:30
    Venue: West Essex CCG Board Room, Building 4, Spencer Close, St Margaret's Hospital, Epping, CM16 6TN
  • Saturday 2 September
    Time: 10:00-12:00
    Venue: The Maltings, Mill Lane, Great Dunmow, CM6 1BG

Dr Christine Moss, Clinical Director of West Essex CCG, said “We are not acting in isolation; the proposals we are seeking views on are also being put forward in Hertfordshire. While we accept our proposals around changes to IVF and specialist fertility treatments have the potential to make a significant difference to some patients’ lives, we have to be realistic about what we can afford. In view of this, we will aim to get as wide a range of views. We will be holding public events; speaking to people across west Essex; attending community and local health and social care meetings; taking opinion online and communicating with people via social media.”

Consultation documents have been produced which give more detailed information on each of the proposals, why we are considering them, and a survey asking you what you think. The survey will close on 14 September. To give your views on both IVF and Specialist Fertility Treatment and ‘over-the-counter’ medicines go to –

Note to editors:

  • NHS West Essex CCG serves the communities in Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford and the surrounding areas, approximately 303,000 people.
  • The Board is led by elected GPs, a senior nurse, lay members, senior NHS managers and a secondary care consultant. Public Health and Social Services are also represented.
  • It is responsible for an annual budget of over £380m
  • It plans and buys healthcare through:
    • - assessing local needs
    • - listening to patients and public
    • - working in partnership
    • - designing services and agreeing contracts
    • - WECCG manages quality and performance

Contact the West Essex CCG communications team on 01992 566140 ext 1413. Out of Hours 07855 126914