Wales politics

Cancer campaigner Irfon Williams to review drugs scheme

Irfon Williams with his two young sons
Image caption Irfon Williams, pictured with two of his children, could not get the drug Cetuximab in north Wales

Cancer patient and campaigner Irfon Williams will sit on a review of how drugs not normally available on the NHS in Wales can be accessed.

He is one of five people who will examine the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) process, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said.

Mr Williams, from Bangor, moved to England when he was told Cetuximab was not available in north Wales.

Concerns have been raised that a postcode lottery exists in the system.

"The review will concentrate on the number of panels, the clinical exceptionality criteria and take account of the patient's perspective," Mr Gething told AMs on Tuesday.

"The panel is independent of the Welsh Government and encompasses a range of expertise and knowledge."

'Valuable insight'

The other members are Prof Peter Littlejohns, Prof Phil Routledge, Dr Ben Thomas and Professor Chris Newdick.

The review was a key part of the deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru which allowed Carwyn Jones to become first minister.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid's shadow health secretary, said: "After initially rejecting Plaid Cymru's calls for a fairer system, today's announcement is an admission by the Welsh Government that it was wrong to ignore our calls."

Mr Williams said he was pleased with the appointment: "I can go in there with a service user's perspective, that's what I am hoping to bring to the panel."

Mr Williams, who had been given two years to live after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, said he was in remission at the end of 2015.

However he wrote on his Facebook page last July that three tumours had returned to the liver and some have spread to the lungs.

He said he was undergoing treatment and added: "I feel well and ready for it once again."

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