Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, joined Breast Cancer Care in Parliament this week to call for breast cancer patients’ voices to be central to decisions about the availability of new medicines on the NHS in England.
Patients affected by breast cancer were on hand to share their experiences with MPs and set out their expectations for a new system for assessing medicines, known as the ‘value assessment’, to be led by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The current way of assessing medicines and their benefit has not always valued what matters for people with breast cancer – such as quality of life and additional months of life, particularly for those with secondary (advanced) disease. The new system is intended to ensure that patients can benefit from medicines based more on what matters most to them and will be consulted on later this year.
Ahead of this, Breast Cancer Care has surveyed and interviewed breast cancer patients to find out what they most value from treatment. The findings are set out in the charity’s new report, Delivering value for breast cancer patients, and include:
- What’s important in treatment goals for those with primary breast cancer can be different for those with secondary (advanced) disease. Generally patients place the most value on treatments that save life and extend life, but quality of life is valued highly, particularly by advanced cancer patients
- Quality of life means different things to different patients, from going to the shops to being able to continue working – this means that the new system will need to be robust enough to respond to individual needs
Diana Jupp, Director of Services and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Care said, “Whether primary or secondary breast cancer patients, younger or older, what any new system must be able to do is put them and their values at the centre of decisions about which treatments are available on the NHS. The Government must ensure this happens or it will have failed to deliver on its most fundamental promise to patients.
“I am delighted to see that so many MPs have recognised the importance of this issue and joined us to understand the range of breast cancer experiences and help Breast Cancer Care call on the Government to ensure that the patient voice is central to the new system of value-based assessment.”
Annette Brooke MP, said, “I was delighted to be able to meet breast cancer patients and hear first-hand what it is they value when it comes to treatment. I will work hard to ensure that the new system reflects their needs and priorities.”