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Concerns over the cancer fund future

There are warnings from cancer charities over the uncertainty of future access to life-extending drugs when a dedicated fund ends next year.

The government’s £650million Cancer Drugs Fund has paid for treatment for 28,000 people since late 2010.

However it is due to end in 2014 and cancer charities are calling for clarity about what will replace it.

Value-based pricing, the new pricing scheme, is set to start in 2014 and could affect many of the medicines used by the NHS, not just cancer drugs.

There are concerns that the details of the scheme are not yet clear.

In January, MPs on the Health Select Committee suggested that a lack of clarity on the future of medicines in the NHS means cancer patients and doctors are in the dark.

Bowel Cancer

36% of the medications the Cancer Drugs Fund has funded have been for bowel cancer.

Beating Bowel Cancer charity has written to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, calling for clear guidance on how the new system will work.

Melanie Lidstone-Land, expert medical negligence lawyer at Swain & Co says, “Uncertainty over how cancer drugs will be funded in the future could mean that patients who could benefit from having treatment may be denied access to drugs because there is no funding.”

“People’s lives are going to be affected, and the government needs to find long term and sustainable ways to fund effective cancer treatments for cancer patients, be it cancer drugs, radiotherapy or surgery. Patients need to be given the best care possible.”

With the fund ending next year, it is essential that cancer patients do not miss out.

Lord Howe, the health minister, says that they will make sure that there are arrangements in place from next year to protect cancer patients receiving treatment with drugs through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Melanie adds, “We need an NHS that promotes fair and consistent access to cancer drugs which will make a difference to people’s lives.”

Delays in treating conditions such as cancer can leave patients facing avoidable complications and in the most severe cases, it can mean a shortened life expectancy.

If you have suffered from failures or delays in diagnosis of cancer or other medical conditions, then you need to speak to Patrick and the medical negligence team.

We can act on a no win no fee basis, we offer you free advice in an initial consultation and our number is free to.

Call Patrick today on 0800 0351 999

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