Surrey

NHS Surrey stops funding new IVF courses

Writing a prescription
Image caption NHS Surrey has agreed a "Fast, Steady, Slow" system to prioritise patients with greatest needs

All new IVF treatment will stop in Surrey as the NHS tackles a deficit this year of £125m.

The board of NHS Surrey met in Cobham on Friday to look at how to tackle "serious financial challenges".

A spokesman said current courses of IVF would continue and women nearing 40 would still be considered, with IVF policy to be reviewed next November.

NHS Surrey is also no longer funding some treatments including acupuncture and some cosmetic procedures.

Treatments which would no longer be funded included male baldness, facial blushing, tattoo removal and spinal epidural injections for chronic back pain.

'No clinical benefit'

Dr John Omany, medical director, said: "Over the past months we have seen a substantial rise in referrals for non-urgent or low-priority procedures.

"In addition, there is increasing evidence that for some procedures significant numbers of patients report no clinical benefit.

"By stopping doing things which aren't clinically necessary, we can safeguard and continue to do what's clinically essential or urgent, such as cancer referrals and life-threatening trauma cases in A&E."

The changes have been agreed under a "Fast, Steady, Stop" programme, which categorises procedures into "Fast" treatments to be provided immediately, and "Steady" treatments to be provided in turn and on time.

Treatments which fall into the "Stop" category will not be provided at all and the board has said: "If you don't need it the NHS won't pay for it."

A spokeswoman for NHS Surrey said the trust started the year needing to deliver savings of £125m, but now needed to close a gap of just over £35m this financial year.

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