Alastair Whitington summarises highlights from the Westminster Health Forum on cancer care in England
The Westminster Health Forum, Cancer Care in England—access to treatment, improving diagnosis and implementing the NHS Long Term Plan, was held on 17 September 2019 at Glaziers Hall, London Bridge.
Progress on the Cancer Drugs Fund
Professor Peter Clark, Clinical Lead, Cancer Drugs Fund, NHS England, reported progress on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).1 NHS England spends £18 billion annually on medicines, of which chemotherapy accounts for £2.5 billion. As a result of acceleration of the cancer drug pipeline, chemotherapy expenditure is rising on average by 9–12% a year.
Views on NICE involvement
Professor Clark reminded the conference of predictions made by the pharmaceutical industry when NICE became involved in appraising all licensed cancer drug indications for the CDF. Although joined-up working between NICE and NHS England was welcomed, it was feared that the ‘old’ CDF drugs would be decommissioned, overall access to cancer drugs would fall, and there would be a lack of pharma engagement in the new process at NICE/NHS England. Professor Clark asserted that these fears have proven ill-founded.