GPs increasingly have to fight to provide the care their patients need, as CCGs overall approved less than half (40%) of the IFRs made in 2013/14, a GP investigation found.
Map: IFR approvals across England
Compared to data from previous years, the average proportion approved has dropped substantially. Two years prior, in 2011/12, 55% of requests were approved. Approval rates have fallen 27% since that year.
Approval rates varied widely from region to region, with some CCG areas accepting up to 83% and many less than 10% or none at all.
GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it was important to understand the underlying reasons behind the variation across the country.
‘What is important is consistency,’ he said. ‘Different areas may have a broader range of tests. It would not be right if there is postcode variation.’
A total of 180 out of 211 CCGs in England replied to GP’s freedom of information (FOI) request.
The drop in approval rates coincided with a fall in the number of requests made overall.