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Improved access to cancer drugs? No, says Labour in Wales

As Labour’s Shadow Health Minister announces new plans for an expansion of the cancer drugs fund in England, Labour’s First Minister in Wales has called the fund ‘political’ and ruled out any introduction in Wales.

The incredible contrast leaves Welsh cancer patients and their families suffering the on-going effects of a tragic postcode lottery.

When questioned by the Welsh Conservative Leader in the Senedd, Labour’s Carwyn Jones repeated old arguments against England’s cancer drugs fund – despite the resounding approval it has today received from his Labour colleagues in Westminster.

While Welsh Labour ministers continue to suggest a similar fund is not needed in Wales, it remains a fact that 72 cancer treatments - readily accessible through England’s Cancer Drugs Fund - are not routinely available for Welsh patients.

Welsh Conservatives have long called for a Cancer Treatments Fund, providing not just improved access to cancer drugs, but also further improved access to other modern treatments – such as stereotactic body radiotherapy treatment – and an expansion of mobile cancer treatment centres.

Speaking after First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd, Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies AM, said:

“As Labour in England performs an overdue U-turn, Labour in Wales can only repeat the same, tired old nonsense.

“The facts are clear. Access to cancer drugs in Wales is not on a par with England. 72 treatments - readily accessible through England’s cancer drugs fund - are not routinely available for Welsh patients.

“UK Labour’s Ed Miliband should call Welsh Labour’s Carwyn Jones and convince him it’s time to put patients first - not politics.

“The money is there following the UK Government’s autumn statement. A cancer treatments fund would help patients and provide access to support on a par with England.”