PEFORMANCE: Figures from the cluster showed 42 of 76 cases received between April 26 2011 and February 9 2012 were declined.

A report to the NCL board said roughly half of the requests related to oncology, auto-immune diseases and neurological treatments.

It said: “Decisions whether or not to approve a request are made by a panel of lay and clinical members chaired by a Non Executive Director of North Central London. Decisions are invariably complex and highly sensitive. They are also often by their nature time critical.

“NHS North Central London aims to respond within 30 days of receipt of all relevant information from the consultant making the request. The committee was told that it often took a long time for Trusts to submit additional information required. There are cases over 30 weeks old shown in the database, because of the lack of further information from the requestors, and some of those cases may not any longer be current ; the committee suggested that further action should be taken to bring the database up to date in relation to cases over 20 weeks.

“It was noted that staffing of the individual funding request team has had to be increased due to the complexity and volume of requests received.
“The committee noted that a larger percentage of cases were approved in some boroughs than others. The committee expressed a wish to understand this difference more fully.”