The Welsh government’s New Treatment Fund, which speeds up patient access to the latest, potentially life-improving and life-prolonging medicines, is continuing to go from strength-to-strength, according to Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, as he celebrated two years of the fund being available in Wales.

Introduced in January 2017, the New Treatment Fund speeds up access to medicines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group.

The fund has shortened the time-frame in which new medicines must be made available from 90 days to 60. Due to its success, the average time taken to make medicines available has fallen to an average of 17 days.

The Welsh government is providing £16 million annually to health boards and the Velindre NHS Trust over the five years of this government – £80 million in total – for the New Treatment Fund. This substantial investment in NHS Wales demonstrates the Welsh government’s commitment to ensuring that patients receive the latest recommended treatments quickly, regardless of where they live in Wales.

One of the new drugs that has been made available thanks to the New Treatment Fund is the breast cancer drug, Palbociclib, which was recommended by NICE for routine use in November 2017. The drug blocks the growth and spread of the cancer.

According to the latest figures available, 73 women in Wales are now receiving Palbociclib and the numbers are expected to grow.

Vaughan Gething said, ‘Our New Treatment Fund is improving and prolonging lives across Wales. Due to the success of the fund, the average time taken to make medicines available has fallen considerably. We have reached and far exceeded our 60-day target, which is a great achievement and is making a very real difference to people’s lives.’