How to make an individual funding request
We don’t accept IFR applications directly from patients. Applications can only be made by the clinician responsible for your care – usually your secondary care (hospital) clinician.
You can work with your hospital clinician to make an application if they believe you may be eligible. To make an application your clinician should use our IFR application portal.
If you’re a GP and wish to make an IFR application please contact us first, providing details of the application, including the basis for clinical exceptionality as outlined in section 5 of our IFR policy. We will respond with advice on the next steps.
Once your application is made we will keep in contact with your clinician and let them know how things are progressing.
Please contact us if you need any advice about our IFR process.
Frequently asked questions
When can an individual funding request be made?
An individual funding request can be made for a treatment that is not routinely offered by the NHS when:
- Your clinician believes that your clinical circumstances are clearly different from other patients with the same condition; and
- There is a reason why you would respond differently to other patients – and therefore gain more clinical benefit from the treatment.
In the application, your clinician will need to explain why your clinical circumstances are different and show all available clinical evidence for why they believe you would benefit more from the treatment than other patients with the same condition. They will also explain to you why they believe a treatment that is not routinely offered by the NHS is the best treatment option for you.
Patients understand their symptoms better than anyone and may be very well informed on their condition. If you’re aware of a treatment that you think may help you, discuss it with your clinician who can advise you if an individual funding request would be appropriate.
If there are likely to be other patients with similar clinical circumstances who might benefit from the treatment in a similar way, your clinician can request that we consider introducing it as a routine treatment.
If it is approved, the clinician can then make the treatment available to you.
How long will an application take?
If all the required information is submitted, it usually takes 30 working days from receiving an application to a decision. If we need to ask your clinician for additional information, this may cause a delay.
Urgent cases can be processed more quickly, if clinically necessary.
Who considers the application?
We check your application to make sure all relevant information has been submitted and that it meets the criteria for an individual funding request.
It will then be considered by the South West London IFR panel. The panel is made up of doctors, public health experts, pharmacists, commissioners and lay members and is led by a lay chair. The panel will consider the application in detail before deciding, usually within a few weeks. All panel members regularly receive training to enable them to assess individual funding requests fairly and thoroughly.
Treatments agreed through the IFR process must be funded from the same budget available for other established treatments. It’s because of this that every single case is considered extremely carefully before a decision is taken to fund a treatment for someone that is not usually available on the NHS. Your personal details will be kept confidential.
We will let your clinician know the outcome and you will also be sent a letter. If your application is unsuccessful, your clinician will discuss with you the reasons for the decision and what other treatment options may be available.
What do I do if I disagree with the decision?
If the IFR panel declines your request, or if it has approved a treatment subject to conditions you don’t agree with, you should speak to your clinician.
Your clinician can request a review if you think the process wasn’t followed correctly. Reviews must be requested within 28 days of when you were informed of the decision.
If your situation changes or more clinical evidence becomes available about the effectiveness of your treatment, your clinician may also be able to submit additional information for consideration.
Does the individual funding request consider any patient circumstances apart from clinical exceptionality?
Factors such as the effect of a treatment on a patient’s ability to work or study, care for dependants, or meet financial commitments can’t be considered as part of the IFR process.
Decisions are based on clinical circumstances only, which ensures the IFR process is fair, equitable and non-discriminatory.
Every person has the same rights to treatment under the NHS no matter what their social, family or other circumstances are. For this reason, it’s important that non-clinical factors are not considered in IFR decision making.
Why is treatment not funded for everyone?
Your healthcare is paid for by the NHS. We’re responsible for funding healthcare treatments for everyone in South West London. There is a fixed budget for healthcare which is allocated to various organisations to pay for your treatment.
Unfortunately, there is not enough money to fund every possible operation, procedure or medicine for everyone. This means that we have to make difficult decisions on which treatments can be paid for by the NHS and which treatments can’t.
Why would you not pay for a treatment that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends?
Under the NHS constitution, it’s our duty to provide treatment which the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends in technology appraisals. Other guidance by NICE is advisory only and we prioritise the treatments available on the NHS based on the budget we have available.
Can I apply if my condition/treatment is normally commissioned by NHS England, but they have declined funding?
If a request for funding has been declined by NHS England, you cannot make the same request using our IFR process. We don’t provide the specialist services that are the responsibility of NHS England.