A YORK health boss has explained why he did not vote in a crucial decision over IVF - and has said he will oppose such a postcode lottery if elected as MP.
Dr Mark Hayes, chief clinical officer of the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has publicly said he wishes to end a situation in which York is the only area in the country not to offer IVF.
But he did not cast a vote in favour of providing IVF treatment after governing members of the CCG suggested the Labour candidate for Selby and Ainsty may be seen to be playing for votes. A narrow 5-4 vote then saw commissioners backtrack on a decision to allow a cycle of IVF because it cannot afford the service.
Dr Hayes yesterday dismissed calls from Conservative MP Julian Smith for his resignation due to a conflict of interest, saying he did not anticipate that another situation would arise where he would have to abstain from a vote or decision-making process.
But he did add that he will campaign against the injustice of a postcode lottery should he become an MP.
Dr Hayes said: “We have a National Health Service and it’s a shame when it isn’t national. The postcode lottery is the counter to the founding principles of the NHS. When it was set up, they did not imagine you could get a service in one place in the country and not the other.”
A new deputy chief clinical officer was due to be appointed who would be able to step in should a further conflict of interest arise, he said, adding that he had the support of CCG colleagues who have tried “really hard to do the right thing”.
Dr Hayes has also said that had he voted in favour of the treatment, chairman of the CCG, Professor Alan Maynard would have had the casting vote.
Prof Maynard confirmed to The Press he would have voted against the provision, believing it to be a prudent financial decision.
* A petition to allow couples in the Vale of York one cycle of IVF had yesterday gathered some 750 comments.
Among the latest to have signed, one person wrote: “All couples should be given at least one try at IVF, it’s unfair it comes down to a postcode lottery”.
Another said: “Disgusting that this is a postcode lottery! Affecting many people who are already going through a very difficult time.”