Wales Election 2016

Carwyn Jones makes £80m Labour NHS drug fund pledge

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says the fund would be 'robust and affordable'

Labour would create an £80m fund to pay for new NHS drugs, First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced.

He made the pledge during a visit to St Asaph, Denbighshire, after a lengthy political row over the use of a so-called cancer drugs fund by UK ministers in England.

Over the last assembly term Conservatives pressed Mr Jones's Welsh Government to adopt the same scheme.

The scheme in England is being revamped this summer.

He said the Labour proposal was different because it was "including but not limited to cancer".

Mr Jones said new medicines were being developed on an "almost weekly basis" but many were very expensive.

"The money will be made available for drugs that have been approved, so that the cost issue will have been addressed, and it means that people across Wales will have access to new approved drugs as quickly as possible, regardless of where they live," he said.

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The Welsh Conservatives have said they would create a £100m cancer patients' fund if they win the election, while Plaid Cymru's election manifesto promises £50m for a "New Medicines and Treatment Fund".

The Liberal Democrats said they would extend the Health Technologies Fund, which pays for specific new NHS equipment, to cover medicines too.

UKIP are planning a specific cancer strategy for Wales, including a dedicated cancer nurse for each patient diagnosed with the disease.

Plaid health spokeswoman Elin Jones said most problems for patients were caused by "unfair processes".

"Plaid Cymru would create national panels and get rid of the exceptionality criteria in order to ensure universal access for patients where they need it and when they need it," she said.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said Labour politicians could not be trusted on the issue of life-saving drugs.

"They've just spent the last five years in government here in Cardiff refusing to bring a cancer drugs fund forward, and many patients have had to go over to England to get post codes so they can access cancer drugs that have in many instances saved their lives, or at least given them valuable time with their family, and now with an election coming on Labour have pulled this one out.

Why would you trust them now with an election round the corner?"

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