This involves working with bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) to ensure that the views of patients are taken into account when making decisions over access to drugs and treatments.
A key area of our work involves representing the interests of patients during Health Technology Appraisals (HTAs), to assist in making drugs and treatment available for blood cancer patients. We aim to represent the views of blood cancer patients in all relevant HTAs throughout the UK.
HTAs (also known as Health Technology Assessments) are the process of evaluating the clinical and economic evidence to formulate and publish guidance on the appropriate use of technologies. There are two types of appraisal:
- Single technology appraisals (STAs). STAs assess a single product, device or other technology within a single indication to appraise the health benefits and costs of that technology.
- Multiple technology appraisals (MTAs). MTAs assess more than one technology or one technology for more than one indication.
As a patient organisation, our role during the appraisal process is to represent the views and best interests of patients to whom the technology applies, to ensure that they remain at the centre of the decision making process. We present information from patients on the effects that their illness or condition has on the quality of their lives and on the lives of their carers, family and friends. We also explain the difference the technology being reviewed could make to their condition and their quality of life.
Although we work closely with government and non-governmental bodies during HTAs, we work hard to ensure we retain our independence. In order to retain our independence we work strictly within our Code of Practice. We pride ourselves on our independence and work solely in the interests of patients, free from external influence, at all times.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance and advice to improve health and social care. A key function of NICE is its role as a health technology appraisal body, reviewing the use of new and existing and medicines and treatments within the NHS.
Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC)
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) is responsible for appraising technologies for use within NHS Scotland. The SMC typically undertakes single technology appraisals (STAs) to review the value of each new medicine and to determine the benefits and costs.
All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG)
The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) is responsible for reviewing technologies within Wales, in addition to the NICE process. The AWMSG mostly appraises technologies that NICE has decided not to review, or will not be reviewing for a significant period of time.
Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF)
The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) was introduced in 2010 to enable NHS patients in England to access life-extending treatments which are not routinely available within the mainstream NHS in England. The CDF is a ‘ring-fenced’ pot of NHS money that provides funding for cancer drugs that have not been approved by NICE because they are either: yet to be assessed, currently undergoing assessment or have been assessed and determined to be not cost-effective.