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This information is for people who feel they would benefit from a treatment or drug that isn’t routinely funded by their local health body.
Key to acronyms
Throughout this section the following acronyms appear:
IFR – Individual Funding Requests
IPTR – Individual Patient Treatment Requests
NHS – National Health Service
NICE – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
PCT – Primary Care Trust
SHA – Strategic Health Authority
SMC – Scottish Medicines Consortium
Each nation has a different name for local health bodies. In England, they are called primary care trusts (PCTs), in Scotland and Wales they are called health boards, and in Northern Ireland they are called health and social care trusts.
If you want to apply to your local health body for a drug or treatment, you'll need to follow the procedures they set out. These may differ from region to region. Some have leaflets or information on their websites explaining what you should do. Your cancer specialist will also explain the local process to you.
Some people may consider other options, such as paying for drugs or treatments that they can't get on the NHS.
It can be very difficult when you feel that a drug or treatment that could benefit you isn’t readily available. You may feel angry, frustrated and let down. Dealing with this as well as your cancer can feel overwhelming.
We hope this information answers your questions. If you have any more questions, you can ask your doctor or nurse or speak to one of our cancer support specialists|.
The UK government's £200 million cancer drugs fund for England came into effect on 1 April, 2011. The fund aims to help people who are trying to access cancer drugs which aren't available on the NHS. For more information see our section on the Cancer Drugs Fund|.
Content last reviewed: 1 October 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
Thank you to all of our campaigners who helped secure the Cancer Drugs Fund|.
For information on how you can be a part of campaigns to improve the lives of people affected by cancer see our campaigns pages|.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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