Accessing care and treatment

Individual Funding Requests

An Individual Funding Requests (IFR) is a request to fund, for an individual, an episode of healthcare that currently falls outside our existing contracts. The request may be for any type of healthcare, a service, a piece of equipment/aid or a specific treatment or medicine.

Further information with regards to individual funding requests and the process and policies involved is available on the website below on the NECS Individual Funding Request website.

Rapid Specialist Opinion (RSO)

A new process aimed at getting patients seen in the right place, first time is being introduced across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

Rapid Specialist Opinion (RSO) will support GP’s to access a specialist opinion to determine the most appropriate next steps in the patients care plan. Consultants and GPs with a specialist interest will be looking closely at some hospital referrals to see whether patients require a hospital appointment, or whether their treatment can be delivered by their local GP practice, with specialist support.

This approach has worked well in other local areas and patients have seen the benefit of this by reducing the number of avoidable trips to hospitals, improving patient experience and often being treated closer to home.

It is being introduced by NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and buying healthcare services on behalf of the local population.

The process is also aiding the local NHS health care system as it helps ensure clinicians can focus on those patients with the greatest need. The CCG have worked with clinicians and involved patient groups in the development of the process to ensure that patients understand the new system.

The RSO process has been introduced to:

  • Allow patients to be seen in the right place, first time.
  • Reduce the number of unnecessary hospital referrals;
  • Ensure clinicians can focus on those patients with the greatest need;
  • Improve waiting times for patients who need a hospital or specialist appointment;
  • Supporting patients to receive treatment locally at their GP practice, where appropriate;

The new referral process comes into effect on 1 November 2017.

Very urgent referrals, including cancer referrals are not affected and GPs will use their normal referral process for these cases.



Improving your choice

Choose and Book is a referral system that allows you, the patient, to take more control over your own health, healthcare and treatment.

Operating since 2006 it means that, when you see your GP, if they decide that you need to see a specialist in a hospital setting, you will be given a choice of healthcare providers. You will also be given a choice of times and dates for your appointment.

The NHS website will help you make your choice, allowing you to select hospitals and compare them on the criteria that matter most to you.

To find out more, visit:

You can choose where to be treated, from a range of hospitals and other providers that meet NHS standards, that best suit your needs.

It may be that you want to go somewhere away from home but closer to your family; maybe good parking facilities are important to you; or you may want to check with friends and family or look into waiting times, cleanliness, or reputation. Whatever you base your decision on, the choice is now yours.

Compare different choices

The NHS website will help you make your choice, allowing you to select a wide range of different hospitals and compare them on the criteria that matter most to you.

In many cases, you’ll be able to see how other patients rated the hospital and also add your own comments if you wish.

Limits to your choice

It may not always be possible for you to choose which hospital you go to. In the case of accidents and emergencies, for example, the ambulance crew may have to decide for you.

Even if your case is not an emergency, your GP may decide that you need to see a specialist quickly and advise you of the best place.

Areas of healthcare that are not subject to free choice include mental health services and maternity. However, even here you can still talk to your GP if you feel that the hospital you’re being referred to is not right for you and, once you’ve been seen by the specialist, you are entitled to ask for a second opinion.

For more information, visit:


Further information can be found at: