An IVF campaign group has discovered that Greater Manchester features the highest quality fertility treatment anywhere within the NHS system.
Yet the Fertility Fairness campaign suggests that the quality of IVF treatment delivered within England is generally sub-standard.
Of 209 clinical commissioning groups, Fertility Fairness believes that only four are meeting national guidelines on IVF treatment.
And all four of these clinics are located in Greater Manchester, characterised by the offering of three cycles of IVF as part of their overall program of care.
Meanwhile, campaigners have shamed clinics in Essex and South Norfolk for cutting all NHS fertility treatments.
Essex is thus considered the worst location in Britain for those struggling to conceive a child, with three CCGs in the county having cut all fertility treatment on the NHS completely.
South Norfolk CCG has also decommissioned its NHS fertility services.
Fertility Fairness also found that 60% of the clinics in England offer just one cycle of IVF, compared to the three that the campaigning group considers to be ideal.
Greater Manchester was particularly praised as it offers even more support than the minimum recommended by NICE.
A Fertility Fairness spokesman also noted that in Scotland three cycles were offered, while the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland offered two and one respectively.
Yes despite the fact that the campaign group considers the existing situation to be unsatisfactory, it also believes that it could deteriorate still further in the near future.
Fertility Further outlined that 10% of CCGs in England are considering reducing or decommissioning services, and believe that this will have a very detrimental social impact.
Co-chair Susan Seenan of Fertility Fairness outlined why campaigners consider this to be such a serious issue.
“This is cruel and unethical, and a national disgrace for the country that pioneered IVF. Infertility is a disease, and women and men who cannot become parents without medical help are as deserving of healthcare as people with other medical conditions.”
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt had previously indicated the intention of the government to intervene if local health bodies were not meeting clinically agreed standards of care.
England health minister Nicola Blackwood is similarly concerned about the issue, and called on organisations within the NHS system to pay heed to existing legislation.
“I am very disappointed to learn that access to IVF treatment on the NHS has been reduced in some places and it is unacceptable that some clinical commissioning groups have stopped commissioning it completely. I would strongly encourage all CCGs to implement the Nice fertility guidelines in full, as many CCGs have successfully done.”