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Breast Cancer Drugs

Volume 621: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2017

11. What assessment he has made of how the accelerated access review will improve access to breast cancer drugs. (908632)

We are absolutely determined that we will improve access to cost-effective, innovative medicines, including breast cancer drugs. That is exactly why we introduced the cancer drugs fund.

The Minister will know that “cost-effective” is not an easy thing to define. Many women will not get access to the breast cancer drugs they need unless there is a review of how NICE assesses cost-effectiveness. Will she support an independent review of those processes, and will she say something about off-patent cancer drugs?

The hon. Lady and I have debated this in the House before. It is worth looking at our record. The cancer drugs fund has helped 95,000 people to access cancer drugs, to the tune of £1.2 billion, and NICE has approved three breast cancer drugs, while there are others that it has not yet approved. It is important that politicians do not intervene in this debate, as these are very difficult decisions that will always be challenging in the situation where the NHS has a finite budget.

If the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Chris Davies) were standing because he has a cancer-related question, I would call him, but if he is not, I will not. He is, so I will.

18. I am delighted to do so, Mr Speaker—thank you very much. Given that there is no general hospital in my constituency and a large number of my constituents have to travel many miles for cancer treatment, what discussions has my hon. Friend had with the Welsh Government to persuade them to fund mobile cancer treatments? (908640)

We have continual discussions with the Welsh Government to make sure that these issues are kept under review. I shall definitely write to my hon. Friend about this. I shall also be happy to meet him if he would like to discuss it in further detail.

Does the Minister agree that not one subject that we have discussed today would not be improved by the better transfer of patient data? How is the Department working towards linking social care with the acute sector, with GPs, with mental health services, with innovation and with cancer drugs in order to understand where we can best target patient outcomes and spend our resources?

My hon. Friend has a leading role with her private Member’s Bill so she is well aware that we are working very hard to improve the connection of patient data, particularly through the role of the national data guardian and her 10 safeguarding rules, which will make sure that we not only protect patient data more effectively but are able to share it in an effective way that improves patient care.

Time is against us, but I would like to make a little further progress with Back Benchers’ questions. I call Michelle Donelan.