latest health care news

03.08.20

NHS set to roll out £160m ‘Covid-friendly’ cancer initiative

As part of a £160m initiative, the NHS will look to roll out and expand ‘Covid-friendly’ cancer treatments which are safer for patients during the pandemic, the health service’s Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced.

The funding will help pay for drugs which treat patients without having as significant of an impact on their immune system, or which could offer other benefits such as a reduced number of hospital visits.

Almost 50 treatments have been approved for use as ‘swaps’ for existing drugs, with thousands of patients having already benefitted, and more are expected to be made available this week as part of deals struck between the NHS and pharmaceutical companies.

Within these treatments include options which allow patients to take tablets at home or receive medicines with fewer side effects rather than undergoing hospital-based treatment which can leave them more susceptible to coronavirus and other infections.

These include targeted hormone therapies such as enzalutamide for prostate cancer and the broadened use of lenalidomide in the treatment of myeloma; just two of a number of new options available to clinicians and patients.

Over the past number of months, in response to the challenges faced by Covid-19, the NHS has sought to introduce a wide-ranging repertoire of changes to ensure continued, safe care for patients during the pandemic. These have included the widened use of technology, remote consultations and the establishing of Covid-secure cancer hubs to safely provide surgery for those who most urgently required it.

Sir Stevens said: “Since the first case of Covid in England six months ago, NHS staff have fast tracked new, innovative ways of working so that other services, including A&E, cancer and maternity could continue safely for patients and it is thanks to these incredible efforts that 65,000 people could start treatment for cancer during the pandemic.

“We are now adopting new, kinder treatment options which are not only effective but safer for use during the Covid-19 pandemic and more convenient for thousands of patients, who can take medication at home or be given medicines with less harmful effects on their immune system.”

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, added: “This is encouraging news for some patients, who could now go ahead with their treatment, when it might have previously been on hold due to Covid-19. In recent years, successful price negotiations between the NHS and drug manufacturers have significantly improved patients’ access to new cancer medicines, but cancer doesn’t stop because of a pandemic, so it’s fantastic to see this work continuing throughout this difficult period.

“Steps like this to adapt the care patients can be offered together with the creation of Covid-protected safe spaces, will be critical in minimising the impact on people with cancer and ensuring their survival.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

11/09/2020Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

As part of Organ Donation Week, NHE’s Matt Roberts spoke with our Man... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

21/09/2020Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

Judith Richardson, Acting Director for Health and Social Care, NICE Around half a million people die in England each year. With an ageing population, the annual number of... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >