Following the Welsh Government’s announcement that there is to be £25 million to go towards the new Health Technologies Fund, I would like the Welsh Labour Government to invest in innovative radiotherapy techniques like CyberKnife radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and image guided radiation therapy that will treat cancer patients in Wales rather then send patients to be treated in England.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long argued for the need of innovative radiotherapy treatments to be based in Wales. Cyberknife is the most modern form of radiotherapy treatment and delivers the radiation so accurately it avoids damage to healthy tissue.
Cyberknife, which uses a laser to focus on cancer cells, is able to concentrate treatment into a handful of sessions instead of the 25 routinely required with radiotherapy. The Welsh Labour Government has credited the idea of the Health Technologies Fund to the Welsh Liberal Democrats, who brought the idea forward in last year’s budget negotiations.
Radiotherapy is a hugely important cancer treatment that can save lives. The people of Wales deserve the very latest and best treatment. It is for this reason that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Labour Government to allocate some of the money in the Health Technologies Fund to invest in the latest radiotherapy treatments.
Currently, Wales does not use this Cyberknife radiotherapy which means that we’re giving millions of pounds of tax payers money each year to English hospitals to treat Welsh cancer patients. Only recently we heard how the Welsh Labour Government was giving huge amounts of money for patients to receive private radiosurgery treatment in Harley Street London – something that flies in the face of the Welsh Government’s dogmatic approach to giving money to private providers.
At a time when the NHS budget is set to become even tighter, the Welsh Labour Government should be doing all it can to save money and provide the best service for patients as close to home as possible.
I am delighted that the Welsh Labour Government has agreed to create the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s idea of a Health Technologies Fund. This fund is something that Wales desperately needs and will go a long way to secure treatments for patients that are not already available routinely through the NHS.