Agenda item


To receive an update on the fertility review.


Penny Mitchell, Director of Population Health Commissioning, Dr John McGrath, GP & Clinical Responsible Officer (CRO), and Francesca McNeil, Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement, introduced the report which provided an update on the fertility review. It was acknowledged that fertility services were accessed by a small number of people but that they were very important and emotive for those concerned. It was explained that there were currently five separate policies across North Central London (NCL) and that the fertility review aimed to provide a consistent and equitable offer across the area and to maximise health outcomes.


It was noted that the review had strategically considered the current population needs and had been informed by local views in order to provide a policy that was suitable across NCL. It was explained that there were a number of highly technical points in the report but that, overall, the policy sought to move to a more modern position. It was added that the proposal would not mix public and private funding for NHS treatments.


It was noted that engagement had been key and that views had been sought from a wide range of people, including residents, service users, community groups, and fertility groups. It was explained that these initial views had informed the development of the policy. It was noted that there would now be a 12 week engagement period which would be publicised by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and by partners. It was added that a variety of engagement methods would be used to maximise input and that the process could be tailored if there were any particular groups or communities that had not responded.


In response to questions, the following responses were provided:

·         It was clarified that, for the proposed fertility policy, those with an adopted child were not eligible for fertility treatment. It was explained that priority was given for those who had no living child. Some members of the Committee asked whether this could be reviewed. It was commented that this was a standard criteria but that the results of the engagement would be considered.

·         In relation to the engagement of harder to reach communities, it was explained that the CCG had a list of approximately 120 community groups for this engagement process and was hoping to identify further groups. It was noted that information could be provided in different ways, including an easy to read version. It was added that a number of connections had been made during the Covid-19 pandemic and that, following conversations with these groups, there were some innovative ideas for engagement.

·         The report commented that there were increased efficiency requirements for the NHS but it was noted that an increased spend was expected in relation to fertility services in order to increase services in an equitable way.

·         Some members noted that there was an over-representation of white service users and enquired how equitable access would be ensured. It was explained that a communications programme was being developed to support the introduction of a new policy and that this would seek to ensure equitable access through the education of GPs, partners, and the wider public.

It was noted that, as part of the engagement process, evidence had been heard from a number of service users. It was explained that much of this evidence was holistic and did not relate to the specific fertility review. However, it was recognised that these overall experiences were important and they were captured in the engagement and recommendations reports. It was added that this information was also shared with the specialist clinical group (providers) alongside reminders about the psychological support available.


The Chair noted that it would be useful for the Committee to receive an update on the final policy. It was added that the Committee would be interested to hear updates on which additional groups had been accessed through the engagement process and how the views of those who have (an) adopted child(ren) had been captured.


It was acknowledged that the policy aimed to increase the funding available for fertility services but concerns were expressed that this would not be possible. The Committee asked whether it would be possible to report on any contingency plans if additional funding was not granted. It was also noted that it would be important to ensure that primary care practitioners were fully aware of the various fertility options, pathways, and timescales and it was suggested that some guidance for primary care would be useful once the policy was confirmed.




1.    To note the report.


2.    To request a further update on the fertility policy, including the engagement process for harder to reach groups and those with (an) adopted child(ren), funding contingency plans, and communication arrangements for primary care.

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