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Newsletter Article


New Commitment to Cancer Care in the NHS

Prime Minister David Cameron and the Coalition Government have committed £164 million to the NHS for cancer care. The commitment aims to bring U.K. cancer survival rates up to those of the best-performing European countries. The Prime Minister expects these plans to save 5,000 lives if the NHS achieved the European average survival rates, and 10,000 lives if it achieved the best European rates. Last year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranked Britain second to last in colon cancer survival rates, followed only by patients in the Czech Republic, and the funding specially targets colon cancer survival. The plans include introducing flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colon cancer screening technology available in U.S.; providing additional funding for new cancer drugs; increasing the number of NHS cancer specialists from about 1,000 to 1,200 by 2012; expanding radiotherapy capacity; and raising awareness through the NHS’s "Signs and Symptoms" campaign.

Following the Prime Minister’s commitment, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced the creation a Cancer Drugs Fund providing £200 million per year from 2011 through 2013 to help increase access to innovative new cancer drugs that either extend life or improve quality of life. All drugs recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will continue to be funded by the NHS. The new £200 million available through the Cancer Drugs Fund (as well as the £50 million commitment which has been available since October 1, 2010) is intended to cover drugs not normally available to NHS patients, but which clinicians think their patients need.


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