New fury in York IVF row

Dr Mark Hayes

Dr Mark Hayes

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by

A YORK health boss is facing calls to resign after it emerged he did not vote in a crucial decision over IVF because he is campaigning as a Labour election candidate.

Dr Mark Hayes has come under pressure to reconsider his work on the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group after it emerged the chief clinical officer could not cast a vote in favour of providing IVF treatment due to his political work.

The Labour candidate for Selby and Ainsty has previously said he wishes to end a situation in which his CCG is the only one in the whole of the UK not to offer IVF.

Despite announcing it would provide a single cycle of the fertility treatment IVF, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) backtracked on the decision earlier this month on a narrow 5-4 vote, deciding to delay plans because it cannot afford the service.

The matter has been raised by Skipton and Ripon Julian Smith, who said the best outcome would be for Dr Hayes to step down from the post until the 2015 General Election is completed, it was reported.

Karen Boardman, a York campaigner for a cycle of IVF to be offered on the NHS in the city, said: "What it had been 5/5? Would that have meant a rethink and we could have got one cycle on the NHS?

"It does not matter whether you are red, yellow or blue - we are talking about people's lives."

However, Dr Hayes told a regional news television programme that had he voted in favour of the treatment, chair of the CCG, Professor Alan Maynard would have had the casting vote.

Prof Maynard has confirmed to The Press that he would have voted against the provision, believing it to be a prudent financial decision.

Dr Hayes said he thought it would be wrong for anyone standing for Parliament to have to give up their job and work for nothing for the next nine months. He said: "I would argue that I could do my job properly."

Dr Hayes has previously written on his political website: "The CCG, and I, are both very aware of the potential for a “perceived” conflict of interest and we are taking steps to ensure that I am never placed in a position where this can occur."

In a statement the CCG said: “As a clinically led organisation, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s chief clinical officer provides expert knowledge, guidance and leadership to the commissioning and service improvement teams.

“Dr Hayes has more than 30 years of experience in health care including working as local GP, through to the Chairman of Selby Primary Care group and a founder board member and chairman of York Health Group. His clinical leadership has enabled the CCG to develop plans for the next five years and he will continue to oversee the team.

“Openness and transparency remain key values of the CCG and any conflicts of interest are managed throughout its decision making processes and will soon be enhanced with the introduction of a deputy chief clinical officer.”

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