Clash of the manifestos: cancer funds

Published: 30th Apr 2015

"Our Cancer Drugs Fund has given more than 60,000 people access to life-saving drugs"—Conservative manifesto

"We will create a Cancer Treatments Fund so patients have access to the latest drugs, surgery and radiotherapy"—Labour manifesto

Is Labour pledging to create a Fund that already exists? Well, not quite.

Their "Cancer Treatments Fund" would be an extension to the existing Cancer Drugs Fund which would cover treatments that don't involve drugs, such as radiotherapy and surgery.

The Cancer Drugs Fund pays for cancer drugs that haven't been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and wouldn't otherwise be available for patients of the NHS in England. Since 2010 it has been accessed by close to 61,000 patients at a cost of £733 million.

In January 2015 there were 85 drugs available through the Fund, which has been confirmed to run until at least March 2016, with the Conservative Party pledging to "continue to invest" in it in their manifesto.


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