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Procedures of Low Clinical Priority

Information on procedures of limited clinical priority and clinical thresholds

Like every public service, the NHS in Wirral is facing challenging times in trying to manage a rising demand for services from limited resources. It means making difficult choices about how to use those resources in a fair and efficient way, whilst ensuring that procedures offered are evidence based, so we can get the best possible health benefits for the patients we serve.

We do this by following nationally and regionally agreed guidelines and paying for operations and treatments that are proven to be clinically effective and expected to improve your health and well-being. Some operations and treatments do not meet this criteria and have what’s termed, ‘limited clinical priority’. 

The policy “Procedures of Low Clinical Priority” sets out thresholds and an agreed set of criteria which must be met before your GP can refer you for an operation or treatment.  A threshold could, for example, be that medication to manage your health problem should be considered in the first instance. Surgery has risks and health experts agree for many conditions surgical procedures should be considered after trying other, reasonable, non-surgical options first.

What does this mean for you?

Your GP may not be able to refer you for a particular treatment because it is not funded by the NHS in Wirral. Your GP has to follow this guidance because it is now an agreed policy of the local NHS.

However, in some exceptional clinical circumstances your GP, hospital consultant, or health care professional may think you will benefit from a treatment that is not routinely provided. They can then make an Individual Funding Request application on your behalf, which will be considered by an independent panel.

The current policy was revised in 2015 following extensive consultation, since then there have been a number of updates with the most recent being in response to NHS England’s guidance for Evidence Based Interventions.


The current policy can be downloaded here.


Please click here for the Wirral NHS Funded Treatment for Subfertility Policy.