A "devastating divide" between cancer treatments on offer in England, Scotland and Wales has been ...
Postcode lottery on cancer drugs
A "devastating divide" between cancer treatments on offer in England, Scotland and Wales has been revealed by a report from the Rarer Cancers Foundation.
It says that people in Wales are five times less likely to be given newer cancer drugs than those in England. Scottish cancer sufferers are three times less likely to get access to newer cancer drugs than those in England.
Some 159 patients a year in Wales would benefit compared with the current 31if access to the drugs was the same in all three countries, says the organisation. And in Scotland, it would mean 248 patients would benefit rather than just 74.
A report in Health Insurance magazine says there are 23 cancer treatments not available in Scotland, but which are on offer in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund. For Wales, the figure is 24.
Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the Rarer Cancers Foundation, says that the Cancer Drugs Fund is good news for thousands of cancer sufferers in England, but "a devastating divide has opened up with Scotland and Wales".
He adds: "People in Scotland and Wales will want to know why their chances of accessing a life extending cancer drug are so much lower than their neighbours in England."
Cancer sufferers with private medical insurance can access special treatments - as long as the treatment does not exceed limits on their policies. As some cancer superdrugs are hugely expensive, this can mean they aren't covered.
There are policies you can take out which just pay for cancer drugs - WPA has a plan which can supplement your NHS treatment.