The Department of Health and Social Care has approved an interim funding policy which will allow Island cancer patients to access new treatments on the same basis as English NHS patients.
Following a decision made last month, the DHSC will fund drugs once they are approved for routine use in the NHS in England by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and are included in protocols followed by Cheshire and Merseyside hospitals, where Island patients receive treatment.
NICE recommends use within NHS England’s Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) when there is considered to be potential for a drug to help patients, but where there remains significant uncertainty.
Revised arrangements for the CDF in England were introduced in 2016, providing an opportunity to gather additional data on clinical and cost effectiveness and enabling NICE to make a final decision on whether a treatment warrants routine funding within the NHS.
DHSC will fund patients to receive drugs included within the new CDF where the patient will receive treatment with the drug within the NHS England arrangements. That is, DHSC will be able to access the drug at the price agreed between NICE and the manufacturer, the patient will be managed according to the protocol agreed within the CDF and the patient’s clinical data will be reported into the CDF and contribute to the understanding of clinical and cost effectiveness.
Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health, said:
‘The new policy will give our patients access to the same treatments as English patients without the need to go through any additional administrative hurdles.
‘This should enable people to start treatment sooner without having to worry about funding. The new arrangements for the CDF will mean that the outcomes from the treatments are properly evaluated and will add to our knowledge about the effectiveness of the drugs.’
The interim policy will be reviewed in June 2018.
The Cheshire and Merseyside Chemotherapy protocols are available to view online.