Launch of a Cancer Patients’ Fund for Wales

A national mobile treatment service, boosted access to modern cancer drugs and a patients’ champion will all form part of Welsh Conservative plans for a Cancer Patients’ Fund in Wales.




The party’s leader and Shadow Minister for Health will today visit a Tenovus Cancer Care Mobile Support Unit, which provides work the party wants to see expanded right across Wales.




Treating patients this morning in Cwmbran, the unit is a clear example of hugely successful support for cancer patients and further resources for this work will form a focal point of Welsh Conservative proposals launched today.




While viewing the facilities on board this morning, the party will announce plans to develop a national mobile cancer treatment service, aimed at prevent long round-trip journeys for patients accessing clinics and chemotherapy treatment. Over five years, Welsh Conservatives would invest 7.5 million pounds in the expanded scheme.






The Cancer Patients’ Fund will also:




•        Improve access to modern cancer drugs


•        Establish an annual public education campaign to raise awareness of the causes and symptoms of cancer


•        Reduce the referral to diagnosis target to 28 days by 2020


•        Provide a follow-up appointment guarantee so that all patients are seen within a maximum of six months of the conclusion of their initial cancer treatment episode


•        Appoint a Cancer Patients’ Champion to hold government and health boards to account for the delivery of national and local Cancer Delivery Plans






Waiting lists for diagnostic tests in Wales are longer than anywhere else in the UK and the Cancer Patients’ Fund also includes a commitment to reduce the referral to diagnosis target to 28 days by 2020. Welsh Conservatives are also committed to a follow-up appointment guarantee – ensuring all patients are seen within of maximum of six months of the conclusion of initial treatment.




Prioritising the causes of cancer and ensuring health board accountability are also a focus of the fund, which includes commitments for both a public education campaign and a Cancer Patients’ Champion.




In March 2014, independent research by Bristol University concluded patients in England are seven times more likely to access modern cancer drugs than their counterparts in Wales.




Wales remains the only part of the UK where health spending has fallen in real terms and Welsh Conservatives remain the only political party committed to protecting the health budget.




Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:




“This fund would ensure boosted access to cancer treatments right across Wales and the work of the support unit we’ve visited today will play a crucial part in that.




“Whether it’s modern drugs, other innovative treatments or swift physical access to diagnosis and services, a Welsh Conservative government would introduce immediate change.




“Seven key commitments to tackle the causes, treatment and long-term impact of cancer; this fund will properly support our hard-working staff and guarantee improvements to patient care.




“Welsh Conservatives remain the only political party committed to protecting the NHS budget in Wales – as it is elsewhere in the UK. With additional monies already on the way thanks to boosted NHS investment in England, we will ensure this fund provides the change Wales desperately needs.




“I am extremely pleased to be launching our commitments at a hugely successful mobile treatment centre. A Welsh Conservative government would provide additional funding and ensure this approach is rolled out across Wales; a national service that boosts access to treatment.”




Andrew Wilson, Chief Executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, said: “We have long called for steps to be taken to improve Welsh patients’ access to new cancer treatments. We therefore welcome these proposals and we hope that they are a sign of a growing consensus in Wales around the need for action in this area. we are keen to work with all political parties to ensure action is taken to improve outcomes for Welsh cancer  patients."




Annie Mulholland is a cancer patient who has travelled to England to receive the drug, Avastin. Annie has written an article detailing her experiences for our website YourVoice: www.yourvoiceintheassembly.co.uk/my-story




“We still don’t have a list of medicines that are available in Wales, or any specific and measurable criteria by which funding decisions are made.



“An oncologist is required to argue their patient is ‘exceptional’, which is a pretty subjective sort of criteria, and they also have to argue the patient will benefit from the drug.”

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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