Access to cancer treatment
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
CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group
SMC – Scottish Medicines Consortium
Each nation has a different name for local health bodies. In England, they are called Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), 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 throught the NHS or their health and social care trust.
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 cancer drugs fund
The UK government's £200 million cancer drugs fund for England aims to help people who are trying to access cancer drugs that aren't available on the NHS. For more information see our section on the Cancer Drugs Fund.