Speaking after the issue of access to medicines was raised by Jackie at First Minister’s Questions, a cancer charity has called for an immediate end to drug access delays.

Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer said:

“A year ago the Scottish Government committed to improving drug access for cancer patients by announcing a raft of changes, including the introduction of a new PACS system. The old system was failing and the changes were meant to deliver a fair, consistent, transparent and effective way for patients to access the life-prolonging medicines their doctor wanted to prescribe.


“Yet a year on, we are no closer to seeing what the new system will look like and when it will be adopted across the NHS in Scotland.  As a result, hundreds of cancer patients seeking to access medicines to extend their lives recommended by their specialist clinicians are still facing uncertainty and anxiety, despite the Government’s assurances that this would come to an end.


“The prevailing uncertainty cannot be allowed to continue a moment longer.  We would urge the Cabinet Secretary to restore confidence in the system by publishing guidance on how the promised PACS system will work for the whole of Scotland without delay. In addition, he must ensure that health boards accept and implement the guidance in full, and take steps to increase awareness among clinicians about its proper use.


“The government needs to take immediate steps to fulfil their promise to ensure that patients battling devastating illness are not kept in the dark about these promised changes for a moment longer

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