Generic policies

NHS England has finite resources, and needs to make decisions to ensure the best possible outcome for all of the patients for whom it has commissioning responsibility.

Decisions must be made in a systematic, consistent and transparent way, with the aim of fairly and rationally distributing these resources across different patient groups, and across competing demands.

NHS England is currently using the interim Ethical Framework to underpin its decision-making.

Ethical Framework

The interim Ethical Framework sets out 15 ethical principles, some of which relate to legal and statutory duties, and have to be adhered to by NHS England as a public body.

These principles, along with the generic commissioning policies, and some standard operating procedures, need to be applied consistently, throughout a structured governance process. Without these elements, a public organisation cannot deliver fair and robust decision-making.

NHS England is currently reviewing its interim Ethical Framework and policies, in partnership with its stakeholders, as part of the development of a comprehensive Prioritisation Framework to support future decision-making.  View more information about Revising the Ethical Framework and Commissioning Policies.

Individual Funding Requests

NHS England’s policy on the conditions, processes and criteria used for decision-making in the case of Individual Funding Requests (IFRs).

Where a treatment or service is not routinely offered by the NHS, a healthcare professional may submit to NHS England an Individual Funding Request (IFR). As of January 2016, improvements have been made to the administrative processes for managing IFRs. These changes have made been as a result of the experience gathered over the past 3 years, since NHS England took on responsibility for the IFR process, and have been made following engagement with a range of stakeholders, including the NHS England Patient and Public Voice Assurance Group. The aim of the revised IFR process is to ensure a more timely and consistent approach to managing IFRs for NHS England prescribed services.

An amended standard operating procedure for the management of individual funding requests has been published to reflect the changes.

A single point of entry system for clinicians to submit all IFR applications has also been implemented with the aim of providing a clear route for submission of requests. Healthcare professional wishing to submit an IFR should send the relevant completed documentation to:

Generic policies