PATIENTS in Basildon will no longer be entitled to free vasectomies or sterilisation treatment due to NHS funding cuts.

A decision to stop referrals is set to be confirmed at a Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group meeting on Thursday.

If the decision is finalised, all GP surgeries in the borough will be written to and instructed not to refer patients in future.

Originally, the Basildon and Brentwood clinical excellence group had recommended cutbacks which would see only male vasectomy services withdrawn.

But after a review, the group has also proposed withdrawing the availability of free female sterilisation treatments.

Those patients who have already been referred for treatment will not be affected by the policy change, but doctors will stop making any new referrals once the decision is confirmed.

The decision to stop all free sterilisation treatment comes just months after the CCG wrote to every GP surgery, issuing a cap on the number of procedures they could offer.

Each practice was given a maximum amount of vasectomies they could refer for the 2015/16 financial year, ranging from 11 to one.

Three surgeries in the area were told they could refer only one patient for the entire year.

At a CCG meeting in September, it was suggested stopping the service “could have an impact on birth rates in the area which are rising”.

But it was concluded patients could access alternative forms of contraception treatment if permanent sterilisation procedures were not available.

The average cost of a private vasectomy is about £800.

In May, a CCG spokesman warned it had “difficult decisions to make to ensure it meets statutory obligations”.

Last month, it held a public consultation on proposals to scrap free IVF treatment for healthy couples.

The CCG wants to halt IVF and other fertility treatments from 2017 onwards, as part of its attempts to reduce a £20million deficit.