Agenda item


Report to follow.


John McGrath introduced the report on this item, noting that this provided an update on previous reports that had been brought to the Committee on this policy review. He informed the Committee that the new policy was now expected to go live in the NCL area from 25th July 2022. The aim of the approach was to introduce a single fertility policy across the NCL area, thereby removing the postcode lottery variation that previously existed. This related to eligibility of funding for IUI treatments as well as IVF, including for same sex couples and single women, and also on extended fertility preservation issues. A Readers Panel had been involved with the development of the policy document to improve inclusivity of the language used.


Penny Mitchell, Director for Population Health Commissioning at NCL ICB, highlighted some key points around the implementation of the policy. A principle of no disbenefit was being applied to people who were already part-way through their treatment so that if the previous policy was more favourable to them then this would still be applied. A full communications engagement plan had been developed to support the implementation of the policy including with a range of core materials, easy read documents, translation information, a response feedback document, FAQs on the NCL ICB website and updates to GP practice websites. A surge of inquiries was anticipated by the team and a dedicated email address had been made available for this.


Cllr Connor welcomed the update and commented that she had been impressed by the work that had gone into this policy and how robust the engagement process had been. She noted that the Committee had not seen the leaflets but emphasised the importance of them being clear and accessible and asked for further detail about the availability of translations. Penny Mitchell clarified that text on the back of the leaflets was provided in six or seven languages to explain that full translations could be made available upon request and how to get in contact by email. This was in line with NCL ICB policy. Cllr Hutton suggested that the provision of a telephone number as well as an email address could be helpful.


Cllr Anolue highlighted the translation services provided by LanguageLine. John McGrath agreed that LanguageLine provided valuable tools in this area. He added that the review had highlighted how sensitive this issue was for some communities and that printed material was not the only or necessarily the best way of engaging. Other methods of engagement, such as through community meetings, was included as part of the communications plan. There also needed to be a nuanced difference with this policy compared to some other areas of health policy due to the specific target demographic.


Cllr Connor suggested that a further update on the implementation of the policy and the demographic data on who had successfully accessed the services could be brought back to the Committee at a later date. Penny Mitchell commented that thought was being given to how to collect the relevant data but made the Committee aware that there were numerous challenges in doing so. Cllr Cohen suggested that it would be useful to be able to see the data broken down by Borough area. John McGrath clarified that the likely timescale to bring an update back to the Committee was approximately 18 months and this was agreed by the Committee. (ACTION)


Supporting documents: