NHS bosses in north Essex are set to review IVF rules which were described as “unacceptable” by a health minister.

In 2015, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided to withdraw free IVF for couples, except in exceptional circumstances.

The cost-cutting move sparked outrage among couples trying to conceive.

Across the UK only three authorities offer the recommended three cycles of IVF free, with others offering a reduced service or none at all.

Now the North East Essex CCG has said the policy will be reviewed again after a new management team was set up with two CCGs in Suffolk.

The West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk CCGs offer up to two cycles for couples.

A spokesman for the North East Essex CCG said: “In November 2015, following clinical and public engagement, the North East Essex CCG introduced a policy to restrict IVF treatment for all couples, except those with complex health needs, while it was in formal financial turnaround.

“The restrictions in north-east Essex were made at the time when there was significant pressure on health and care services and resources. Since then, we have been reviewing the policy on a regular basis.

“As a new management team has formed for the three CCGs across Suffolk and north-east Essex, the policy will be reviewed again.”

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The news comes after it was revealed former health minister Jackie Doyle-Price wrote to all CCGs urging them to review IVF rules.

Her letter said: “I cannot emphasise enough it is not acceptable for CCGs to offer no routine access to fertility services.

“All CCGs should move towards full implementation of the NICE fertility guidelines recommendations”.

Ms Doyle-Price also raised the issue in Parliament saying she had “made it very clear” it was “unacceptable for any CCG to offer no IVF cycles at all”.

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NICE recommends women aged under 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS if they have been trying for a baby for two years or have not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination.

Basildon and Brentwood CCG and Mid Essex CCG also offer no IVF treatment. Castle Point still offers two cycles and Southend now offers one cycle.