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As it hits its three-year milestone, Welsh Government’s £80 million New Treatment Fund has cut the average time it takes for newly-recommended medicines to become available to patients by 85%, from 90 to 13 days.

First published:
1 February 2020
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Fund is speeding up access to life-improving and life-saving new treatments through annual £16 million grants to Wales’ Health Boards and Velindre NHS Trust. 

Under the Fund, all Health Boards in Wales are required to make medicines newly recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) available within 60 days. Health Boards have significantly outperformed against this target, with the average timeframe for making the latest treatments available to patients now standing at 13 days. 

226 medicines are now available under the New Treatment Fund*, for over 100 different health conditions including: 

Breast Cancer
Crohn’s Disease
Hepatitis C
Kidney cancer
Cystic Fibrosis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Prostate Cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Multiple sclerosis 

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:

This fund is delivering precisely what we intended it to – much faster access to new treatments regardless of where in Wales you live. It is enabling us to transform the way healthcare is delivered. For some patients these medicines are life saving, for others they are bringing significant improvements to their lives. 

One recent example is the epilepsy drug Epidyolex™, which was made available to patients across Wales over five weeks earlier than the 60-day target. Consistently outperforming against this target is a great achievement that is making a real difference to many people’s lives. I am determined that, through ongoing close working between NHS Wales and the pharmaceutical industry, this fund will continue to provide patients in Wales with continued access to the latest innovative treatments. 

Jacinta Abraham, Executive Medical Director at Velindre University NHS Trust said: 

The New Treatment Fund means that some patients at Velindre Cancer Centre can receive cutting-edge treatments at the earliest possible opportunity. Many new treatments have been made available since the Fund was introduced and patients are living longer because of these treatments. At Velindre we are committed to improving outcomes for our patients and access to the right treatment at the right time is key.