Cancer Drugs Fund used for new radiotherapy programme

 The Government will use £15m from the Cancer Drugs Fund for a new nationwide radiotherapy programme aimed at providing nearly 8,000 patients a year with life-saving advanced therapy.

The Cancer Radiotherapy Innovation Fund, which will commence next April, will increase the use of Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) across the NHS.

IMRT targets more precise doses of radiation at tumours whilst minimising the impact on surrounding health tissue thus reducing side effects.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said radiotherapy is one of the most “clinically and cost-effective treatments for cancer” available to the NHS.

The investment will be funded from any under spend arising from the Drug’s Fund in 2012-13. If there is no under spend, the money will be taken from other budgets, the DH confirmed.

Radiotherapy experts, Cancer Research UK and other relevant professional bodies will work together to ensure designated centres adopt the new technique and provide innovative therapy that is clinically appropriate, safe and cost effective.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the new fund would ensure patients get the “drug and treatments they need”.

“We already have a guarantee for drugs – that if they’re safe, cost-effective and doctors say you need them, you will get them,” he said. “From April 2013, for the first time ever, we’re extending that guarantee to radiotherapy too. This is going to help thousands of people at one of the hardest times of their lives.”