HC Deb 19 July 2004 vol 424 cc111-2W
Mr. Bailey

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the take up of new anti-cancer drugs authorised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence; [180496]

(2) what measures may be taken by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to encourage a more uniform use of anti-cancer drugs across the country. [180497]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Last autumn, we asked Professor Mike Richards, the national cancer director, to report on the implementation of National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on drugs for cancer.

Professor Richards' report was published on 14 June. It shows that NICE guidance has been effective in increasing the uptake of recommended new treatments and in reducing variations. Nevertheless, the report finds that there are still unacceptable variations in uptake. The reasons are complex but do not appear to be associated with restrictions in funding. A copy of the report is available in the Library.

In parallel with the publication of this report, my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Warner) issued a statement setting out the responsibilities of the national health service in responding to guidance from NICE and a range of actions to support the NHS in these tasks. NICE can play a key part in promoting its guidance and in providing costing templates and other tools to help the NHS with implementation.

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