|Tuesday, 14 June 2011 13:53|
New report from the Rarer Cancers Foundation assesses measures to improve access to cancer treatments
The Rarer Cancers Foundation’s new report, Funding Cancer Drugs: An evaluation of the impact of policies to improve access to cancer treatments has found that over 2,500 cancer patients have had treatment provided through the Cancer Drugs Fund. It also shows that 187 patients were denied access to life-extending treatment between October 2010 and March 2011. This is despite the fact that strategic health authorities (SHAs) had a combined Cancer Drugs Fund underspend of £22.5 million at the end of March 2011.
It also revealed a north-south divide in approvals, with SHAs in the south of England approving a lower proportion of applications. For example, NHS South Central approved approximately 75% of applications whereas NHS North East approved every application it received.
Other key findings include:
The report makes 30 recommendations about the important lessons that can be learned from the operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund during the first six months.
Commenting on the report Andrew Wilson, Chief Executive of the RCF, said: “It is great news that thousands of patients have already benefited from the Cancer Drugs Fund. However we are concerned that nearly two hundred patients have been denied life-extending treatment, despite money going unspent and the emergence of significant regional variations in approval rates.”
The RCF has also today published updated SHA briefings on the operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund. These updated briefings include a breakdown of treatment applications between October 2010 and March 2011; set out how the process for accessing funding operates in each area; and where relevant, include a list of treatments that will automatically be available through the Fund.