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The Conservative Party’s vow to give patients access to cancer treatments that are licensed and widely available in Europe but have yet to meet NICE approval has been challenged by a thinktank.
The King’s Fund believes the estimated Â£200 million-a-year cost the Tory plans would require will need to come from cuts in the NHS budget and not from the savings made by the NHS through plans to scrap next year’s National Insurance Increase.
A King’s Fund spokesman said: “The Conservative Party have made clear in their proposals that the funding that would otherwise go to pay for increased national insurance contributions from April 2011 would be used to create a cancer fund.
“As this increase has not yet been implemented and given other pressures on the NHS budget the Â£200 million funding would need to be generated by planned cash-releasing efficiency savings.”
He also said oncologists were divided over whether there should be wider access to certain cancer drugs, as the NHS had to make the best use of limited financial resources.
But shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We have been very clear we are going to protect the NHS budget, we are going to increase the budget each year in real terms, so within that budget from next year onwards the employers in the NHS don’t have to spend Â£200 million-plus on an increase in National Insurance, they will have that money available to meet other needs.”
Copyright Press Association 2010
The King’s fund