NICE helping to cut differences in cancer care

In collaboration with the Press Association

Health regulator the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) is succeeding in reducing the differences in cancer treatment availability across the UK, a new report has found.

The study, issued by the government's National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards, showed that cancer drug availability is becoming harmonised across the country.

This is largely due to common, NICE-issued standards on cancer care, said the report, which also concluded there is no evidence that approved drugs are being withheld.

"NICE fulfils an important role in assessing the clinical and cost effectiveness of new drugs for the NHS," said Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK.

"Cancer Research UK welcomes the findings showing that NICE has been successful in reducing the variation of cancer care across the UK since 2004.

"The number of NICE recommended cancer drugs available on the NHS continues to rise and it is encouraging that there was no evidence of patients being denied access to drugs once they had been recommended by NICE.

"However, the approval process can still be frustratingly slow and we believe NICE should be given all the necessary resources to help get potentially beneficial new treatments to patients as quickly as possible."