Plans for a new £80m treatment fund and review of the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) have today been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething.

The new treatment fund will support the early introduction of the most innovative, high-cost medicines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG).

A total of £80m over the life of this government will be made available. The fund will be a significant step forward in ensuring treatment for life-limiting and life-threatening diseases are immediately and consistently available across Wales following a positive recommendation by NICE or AWMSG.

Vaughan Gething said:

‘We are committed to improving the introduction of innovative, evidence-based, treatments by establishing a new treatment fund in Wales.

‘The increasing demand for healthcare and emergence of often high-cost medicines places a responsibility on us to ensure our limited resources are invested where the proven benefit is in balance with the cost.

‘It is essential the fund is operated transparently and is widely understood. During the summer we will be working hard to define the criteria and mechanisms that will be needed to manage the fund effectively.

‘Most importantly, the fund will ensure patients in Wales have faster access to life-changing and live-saving treatments.’

The Cabinet Secretary today also announced a review of the IPFR process in Wales, which will review the clinical criteria used to determine eligibility for access to treatments not routinely available on the NHS.

The independent review panel will draw on expertise and experience of the system in Wales and will bring a fresh perspective from outside of Wales. The patient perspective will also be an essential element of the review.

On the new IPFR process, the Cabinet Secretary said:

‘It is right that we have a process in Wales to enable access to treatments and devices which are not normally available via the NHS. Each health service in the UK has such a process, with clinical criteria to determine accessibility.

‘The NHS Wales process has been improved following a review in 2013-14. A further review will now take place to ensure better consistency of decisions across Wales and make recommendations about what clinical criteria should be applied when determining eligibility.

‘The review of IPFR I’ve announced will be short and sharply focused and I will report progress in September.’