Health: Cancer Drugs Fund

House of Lords written question – answered on 19th June 2013.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessments they have undertaken of the changes in clinical involvement in decisions about the availability of cancer medicines since the introduction of the Cancer Drugs Fund.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to continue from 2014 onward the principle of clinically-led decision-making that has been implemented through the Cancer Drugs Fund, if the current Cancer Drugs Fund arrangements are not retained.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

NHS England has taken on responsibility for commissioning specialised services, including chemotherapy, and for the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Direct commissioning to a national specification informed by specialist clinical advice from specialised services Clinical Reference Groups should lead to improved consistency in the commissioning of, and access to, National Health Service chemotherapy services across England.

On establishing the single national Cancer Drugs Fund system, consideration was given by NHS England to how strong clinical involvement and clinical decision making would be retained. This has been achieved through the establishment of national and regional clinically-led panels.

NHS England has developed a single national list of cancer drugs that will be routinely funded through the Fund. This list is regularly reviewed by clinical experts, and clinicians can apply for the inclusion of a drug within it. Regional clinically-led panels will continue to consider individual patient applications for those cancer drugs not on the national list.

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