Yesterday we handed in our 'Don’t delay funding for vital new drugs and treatments' petition to NHS England, to urge them to reconsider plans for a new spending cap on treatments. We received an incredible 29,005 signatures, but unfortunately the outcome wasn’t what we hoped for.
We teamed up with 10 other health and care charities, including Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Now, Bowel Cancer UK and Ovacome, to call for NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to rethink their proposed 'budget impact threshold', which gives the option to postpone any new treatments that would cost more than £20 million in any of the first three years.
NHS England’s board meeting took place yesterday afternoon, where this proposal featured on the agenda. Noel Gordon, non-executive director and chair of the Specialised Services Commissioning Committee, indicated that the board was aware of concerns from organisations and our petition received a mention. However, they made no movement to stop these proposals from going ahead.
The spending cap could stall up to one-in-five new treatments currently under review, and could also see the next generation of life-saving prostate cancer drugs delayed indefinitely from reaching the men who need them.
We understand that the NHS faces significant financial pressures, but such a drastic potential cost to patients’ health is not the right solution.
Angela Culhane, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "The decision to go ahead with these plans is a real blow.
"We are deeply concerned about the impact that this decision is going to have, both for men with prostate cancer in grave need of new treatments in future and also on the many thousands of patients living with other serious conditions, who will rely on new treatments to prevent their condition from deteriorating.
"We understand that the NHS faces significant financial pressures, but such a drastic potential cost to patients’ health is not the right solution.
"While the power to delay now exists, there is always hope until it is actually used. We’re calling on NHS England and NICE to work together with patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry to find a resolution, which doesn’t leave patients stuck in limbo, waiting to access a treatment that has already been deemed to be cost-effective."