Individual Funding Requests (IFRs)
Every year, the resources that NHS England receives are allocated to the services and treatments provided for patients. NHS England decides the treatments it will invest in on an annual basis through a prioritisation process (twice a year for specialised commissioning treatments and services) so that, as far as possible, funding is shared fairly and appropriately, considering the competing demands on NHS England's budget.
When a new service or a change to a service is proposed, it would not be fair for that to bypass the prioritisation process and be funded without comparing it to other possibilities for investment. Because of this, NHS England’s default position is that a new service will not be routinely commissioned until it has been assessed through the full service development process. Very occasionally a development is of such importance that there should be no delay in its introduction. If this is the case it is considered under the urgent development process - www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/service-development-policy-and-methods/
On an individual basis, there may be situations where a clinician believes that their patient’s clinical situation is so different to other patients with the same condition that they should have their treatment paid for when other patients would not. In such cases, NHS clinicians can ask NHS England, on behalf of a patient, to fund a treatment which would not usually be provided by NHS England for that patient. This request is called anIndividual Funding Request (IFR).
Funding for additional treatments outside the prioritisation process can only be done by reducing the funding that is available for other established treatments. There is not an allocated separate budget to meet the costs of providing treatments agreed through the IFR process. It is because of this that very careful consideration is required before the decision is taken to fund a treatment for an individual that is not usually available.
The policies and supporting information on the IFR process for the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney are available on the Knowledge Management website.