NHS changes could endanger cancer victims’ lives

5 April 2013

A £200 million drugs fund widely used by cancer patients will come to an end next year, leaving the sickest to jump through bureaucratic hurdles in an effort to attain treatment. Many patients will be unable to secure help at all, with treatment costs shooting through the roof.

Since its launch in 2011, the Cancer Drugs Fund has allowed 25,000 patients receive the cancer treatment they need, treatment that is currently not offered by the NHS.

To make matters worse, the number of cancer drugs available through the NHS has just been reduced further, from 50 to 28.

Included in the cuts are treatments for leukemia, lung, ovarian, blood and brain cancers.

Chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, Andrew Wilson, spoke out in defence of cancer patient’s right to affordable, life-saving drugs. He said: “This is a complete and utter backwards step, and it entirely breaks the spirit of what was pledged... This creates a whole new tier of rationing, which is prejudicial to those with rare cancers”.

The end of the Cancer Drugs Fund is estimated to affect more than 16,000 cancer patients. Coupled with NHS cancer drug cuts, thousands more will be affected in the future. It has not yet been determined what will replace the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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