Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood today unveiled ambitious plans to establish a new dedicated multi-million pound drugs and treatment fund that will end the post code lottery for patients.
The fund would make new treatments available swiftly, where they are recommended by clinicians.
Leanne Wood said that her party will establish national panels to approve or reject requests for treatment not ordinarily available for patients on the NHS. Its decisions would apply nationally so there are no variations between health boards
Plaid Cymru would also scrap the criteria that patients demonstrate ‘exceptionality’ in order to be successful, which will lead to more patients benefiting from this.
This would lead to an increase in spending on drugs and other treatments. A Plaid Cymru government would fund this by establishing a ring fenced budget funded by Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme rebate payments that Wales receives every year. In 2015/16 this fund is expected to be worth more than £50m.
Addressing her party’s conference in Caernarfon, Leanne Wood AM said:
“I know many patients and their families are concerned about the inflexible nature of providing new drugs or new treatments.
“There are concerns that the way we make new drugs or new treatments available is too slow and patients are often left in a postcode lottery for those new drugs or new procedures.
“There are concerns too that current arrangements may discriminate against people with rare diseases.
“Today, I am announcing that a Plaid Cymru Government will ring fence Wales’ share of the Pharmaceutical Pricing Regulation Scheme.
“That ring-fenced fund will provide new drugs and new treatments to patients at a national level – ending the post code lottery and delivering new treatments and drugs that are clinically proven to improve patient care.
“It will act quickly and it will treat patients in Wales equally regardless of where they live.
“A Welsh National Health Service – for everyone.”