A report published by the government last week says that cancer patients could access new drugs up to four years faster if the NHS streamlined its processes.
The Accelerated Access Review recommends the creation of a new accelerated access partnership to speed up and simplify the process for getting the most promising new treatments and diagnostics safely from pre-clinical development to patients.
Evidence shows that the UK currently lags behind other countries in making the latest treatments available for patients. The report says that accessing innovation in the NHS has become increasingly challenging. This creates frustration for clinicians and patients who often have to wait for life-saving treatments, and for innovators who must navigate multiple processes before their products can be used.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, George Freeman MP, who set up the review, called for Theresa May to join him in encouraging NICE and NHS England to implement the plan ‘speedily’.
Why is this important for Yorkshire?
Research published in the European Journal of Cancer last year showed that the UK has the worst survival rates in Europe, with experts blaming poor rates of early diagnosis and a lack of access to the latest drugs and diagnostics.
We already know that the proportion of people getting cancer, and dying from it, in Yorkshire is significantly higher than the national average. Five year survival rates for some cancer types, including breast and bowel cancer, are below the average for England.
There are also huge variations in one-year survival rates within Yorkshire. For example, 72.4% of bowel cancer patients living in Hull CCG can expect to survive for one year after diagnosis, compared to 78.5% in Bradford Districts and Vale of York CCGs.
A historical lack of spending on cancer research in the north of England means that patients have traditionally had limited access to the latest treatments and diagnostic tests through clinical trials.
So we welcome any move that will bring the latest technologies to patients more quickly through the NHS.
Charles Rowett, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Getting treatments and diagnostics into clinical practice sooner will help to significantly improve cancer outcomes in our region.
“With the number of people living with and beyond cancer in Yorkshire set to increase from 172,000 to around 300,000 by 2030, the suggestions outlined in the Accelerated Access Review will be vital in helping us cope with the huge impact this will have on resources.
“The plan will also help us deliver on our promise to ensure the money generously donated by our supporters makes real-life changes to the experience of patients living in Yorkshire. Our ultimate aim is to get the research we fund to the patient, and if this can happen faster, then more people will benefit.”
- Last updated: 01/11/2016
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