Getting the application right.

It is interesting to see the diversity in application forms. And in a way I have no problem with this. Local determination may mean that local health economies take a slightly different position on medicines and therefore they might ask slightly different questions. After all the application needs to be in line with three things:

  • The local commissioning framework
  • The local ethical framework
  • The formulary decision matrix

This seems obvious that to be able to offer a standardised decision that is compatible with both the ethical and commissioning frameworks then the application form needs to ask the right questions.

It is a little disappointing to see so few decision matrices used in committee and even more worrying when the application form does not ask the applicant a question related to every area of the matrix.

I always tell consultants – and it is usually consultants that apply – that the form is asking you to present a logical and compelling argument. However they so often answer it badly or refer it to the pharma industry to help. Sometimes there is a clinical pharmacist at the hospital that helps and then the form is usually great.

In the past I have actually earned money from training / presenting to clinicians on how to complete applications.

With the increased need for openness and transparency it is increasingly important to look at the process and ensure:

  • That the application form asks all the questions related to the decision matrix
  • The application is logical and sensible in its layout and flow.
  • That a guide is provided to clinicians to ensure that they understand what is required
  • That suitable support is available to ensure that the application is appropriate, accurate and complete

Remember – if the application is not right then you can’t make a decision in a consistent manner.


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