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Plaid Cymru calls for a truly national Health Service

Plaid Cymru’s new drugs and treatment fund would end the postcode lottery that patients currently face in accessing new medicines.  

That was the message today from the party’s leader, Leanne Wood, and Shadow Health Minister, Elin Jones AM, who are calling for the NHS to become a truly national health service. 

The Party of Wales plans to establish a national panel to approve requests for new drugs and treatments not ordinarily available for patients on the NHS.  

The panel’s decisions would apply nationally, ending the current postcode lottery. Plaid Cymru would also get rid of the criteria that patients demonstrate ‘exceptionality’ in order to be successful, which will lead to more patients benefiting. 

The party would cover the increased spending by establishing a ring fenced budget funded by the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme rebate payments that Wales receives every year. In 2015/16 this fund will be over £50 million.

Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, said:

“The current approach to access to new medicines and treatments forces many patients into difficult circumstances in order to get the treatment they need.  

"Plaid Cymru believes that the NHS should be a truly national health service, the ability of a patient to access a new treatment or medicine should be based upon how effectively it will treat their condition, not upon where they live.”

Plaid Cymru’s shadow health minister, Elin Jones AM, added:

“If there is medical consensus that a patient would significantly benefit from a new drug or treatment then Plaid Cymru believes that they should be able to access that on the NHS no matter where they live in Wales.  

"We are proposing a ring-fenced fund designed pay for treatments and drugs for patients that are not usually available on the NHS. 

"All too often under the current system, patients fall victim to a postcode lottery which can mean that they are forced to fund their own treatment or are forced to move home as we have seen in the case of Irfon Williams of the #HawliFyw campaign.”