Second Opinions - What
What happens when I ask for an independent second opinion?
If your doctor agrees you need an independent second opinion, they will help you to apply to your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Applying directly to the CCG is called making an ‘individual funding request’ (IFR). Your GP or healthcare professional has to send your IFR to the CCG. You can send a letter with the IFR about why you want a second opinion.
The CCG looks after the money for your local NHS trust and decides what to spend it on. They will decide if they will pay for an independent second opinion for you. Your local CCG may have agreed to use a particular specialist service when people need expert opinions.
How hard is it to get an independent second opinion?
It can be difficult to get an independent second opinion. This might be because:
- your doctor thinks you don’t need one, or
- your CCG will not pay.
It may be more likely that you’ll be successful if:
- all the usual treatments have not worked for you. This is called being ‘treatment resistant’
- your mental health is not improving as quickly as your doctor expects. You may be in and out of hospital, or you may have been in hospital for a long time
- the side effects of your medication are seriously affecting your health and your doctor cannot find any answers or alternatives
It is important to explain how your diagnosis or treatment is negatively affecting your life and why a second opinion might help. The stronger your reasons, the more likely it is that your CCG will agree.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays