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Funding policies & Individual Funding Requests (IFR)

The NHS has a duty to spend the money it receives from the Government in a fair way, taking into account the health needs of the whole community.

A Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG's) job is to get best value for this money by spending it wisely on your behalf. Demand for healthcare is growing, but there is only a set amount of money available to spend so difficult decisions sometimes have to be made.

CCGs pay for local NHS health services and NHS England pays for highly specialised health services. CCGs have a legal duty to provide health services for patients in their area with the fixed amount of money they receive from the Government. They have a legal duty not to spend more than this. This means that some hard choices have to be made and not all treatments can be provided by the NHS. Treatments that are limited by CCGs are shown in their Clinical Commissioning Policies.

However, the CCG knows that there will always be times when a patient would benefit from a particular treatment, not usually given by the NHS. To apply for this treatment, an Individual Funding Request is made.

The priority is paying for those medicines and treatments that are proven to work well, can demonstrate they improve peoples’ health, and offer good value for money.

Clinical Commissioning Policies

This website lists the Clinical Commissioning Policies that have been agreed by the Clinical Commissioning Group Board. NHS organisations caring for patients must remember these statements when considering treatment or referral to other specialists.

Individual Funding Requests

An Individual Funding Request (IFR) is an application to fund healthcare which is not usually given by the NHS. These requests are considered by an IFR Panel who look at evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness, as well as equity for the whole population. 

The CCGs are happy to consider an IFR if the clinician believes there is a strong case for a specific patient on grounds of an exceptional health need. You can read about exceptional health needs in this guide: Exceptional Health Need – guide for patients and clinicians.

Prior Approvals

A Prior Approval (PA) is a funding request for an application to fund health care which is usually given on the NHS but has a criteria which must be met. These requests are considered through the IFR process.

Applications for IFR and PA funding must be made by a patient’s NHS doctor or care worker. The correct form can be found on here

The process is managed on behalf of NHS Berkshire West CCG by the IFR Service within South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.

Please note that there are a number of specialised services and treatments that are commissioned separately by NHS England which have their own IFR route.

Further information