Memorandum submitted by CancerBACUP
As we stated in our original evidence to the
Committee last year, we believe it is essential that patients
have a more central role in determining research priorities. The
creation of a Consumer Liaison Group as part of the National Cancer
Research Institute is a very positive step, and we are pleased
to have the opportunity to participate in this group. The NCRI
recently established a thinktank on consumer involvement in research.
CancerBACUP alongside other organisations has taken part in that
process, which will lead to the imminent publication of a report.
The committee may wish to obtain further information on this from
the director of the NCRI.
We would also reiterate another point we made
in our original evidence, which is the need to ensure faster access
to effective new anti-cancer treatments. CancerBACUP welcomed
yesterday's announcement by Lord Hunt that NICE guidance on cancer
drugs will be binding on health authorities from January 2002.
The charity is concerned, however, that the new guidance should
apply to those drugs which are already approved by NICE but not
yet widely available. An independent survey by CancerBACUP undertaken
in November 2001 found that most health authorities in England
and Wales do not know whether patients in their area are receiving
cancer treatment that NICE says should be available. The survey
also found that as many as a third of health authorities do not
make specific funds available to implement national guidance on
lung cancer, which is the UK's biggest cancer killer.
The key findings are as follows:
Fewer than half of the health authorities
in England and Wales have a policy for monitoring local compliance
with NICE guidance. The majority are unable to say whether national
guidance on cancer treatments is being implemented.
Guidance issued by NICE last year
on taxanes for treating breast and ovarian cancer is being implemented
almost everywhere. But guidance on a wide range of treatments
for other types of cancer is not being followed in all parts of
the country. For example, only 15 per cent of respondents to the
survey said that specific funds are available to implement NICE
guidance on lung cancer.
6 December 2001