The Welsh Conservatives have launched a petition (below) calling for easier access to life-prolonging cancer treatments in Wales. Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar, has called for five million pounds to be invested in a Cancer Treatments Fund, providing:
• Increased access to cancer drugs in Wales
• Increased access to other treatments, such as recent innovations in radiosurgery (brand names include CyberKnife and Gamma Knife)
• Assistance in the expansion of mobile cancer treatment centres
Recent independent research by the Rarer Cancers Foundation found 24 cancer medicines routinely available to patients in England, which are not as easily –or routinely – available in Wales. The Foundation estimated it could cost as little as £3.3 million to rectify the problem and create a Cancer Drugs Fund in Wales, similar to a fund already operating in England.
Welsh Conservative calls for a Cancer Treatments Fund would extend this to include other treatments not routinely available in Wales – notably recent innovations in radiosurgery. The latest technology has the ability to deliver radiosurgery more accurately than standard systems.
The fund would also provide opportunity to extend the use of mobile cancer treatment centres in Wales. These units are staffed by nurses and can provide treatment and support to patients away from hospital.
“This fund is about making access to cancer treatments much easier in Wales. Whether it’s drugs, other treatments or physical access to services, we want to see more done to improve provision.
“It’s currently more difficult to access modern cancer treatments in Wales than in other parts of the UK. As a result, Welsh patients are five times less likely to access some cancer treatments than patients elsewhere.
“That’s clearly unfair and I know many others share our view. I want to see an end to this divide – along with thousands of cancer patients and their families. Five million pounds is a tiny fraction of the overall health budget, yet the benefits of using it in this way would be enormous.”
We, the undersigned, support the Welsh Conservative campaign to introduce a Cancer Treatments Fund for cancer patients across Wales. This petition calls for easier access to life-prolonging cancer treatments in Wales, including:
* Increased access to cancer drugs
* Increased access to other treatments, such as recent innovations in radiosurgery
* Assistance in the expansion of mobile cancer treatment centres