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Prostate Cancer

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made by the NHS in making available National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence approved treatments for prostate cancer. (128523)

In June 2006, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidance for the national health service on the use of docetaxel for the treatment of prostate cancer. NICE recommended the use of this treatment for particular groups of patients.

NICE technology appraisals are covered by a three-month funding direction. PCTs have a legal obligation to provide funding for treatments recommended by NICE within three months of the guidance being issued.

NICE guidance is also included in “Standards for Better Health”, which sets out the Government’s high-level expectations for the health service. Adherence to NICE technology appraisals is one of the core standards against which NHS organisations are assessed in the Healthcare Commission’s annual health check.

In July 2006, Professor Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, published a review report examining the uptake of NICE approved cancer drugs. Although the report did not include docetaxel for prostate cancer as its guidance had only just been finalised, the report found that approval of a cancer drug by NICE led to increased use of that drug by the NHS and a reduction in variation in use.