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Drug issue 'significant' for patients, says charity

Pancreatic cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the UK and every year 500 people in Wales die from the disease.

Alex Ford, chief executive of the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK told ITV News that although it is positive that the All Wales Medical Strategy Group has indicated that Abraxane will be available to some patients, it is not enough.

For the group of patients that they are saying the drug will be available to that's fantastic, but there is another group of patients who are fit enough to have that drug and we feel that they should get that option as well.

There are very very few drugs available to patients and this drug, although it only extends life by two to three months, that for a pancreatic cancer patient is very very significant.

– Alex Ford, Pancreatic Cancer UK

Cancer patients could miss out on life-extending drug

Man taking tablet
The New Medicines Group has issued a preliminary recommendation for the drug to be used for a restricted group of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Credit: Stephen Kelly/PA

Pancreatic cancer patients in Wales could miss out on life-extending drugs which are available over the border in England. Abraxane is currently available to all patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund. The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) is set to review the drug at a meeting with the Welsh Government next week.

The New Medicines Group, which is part of the AWMSG, has issued a preliminary recommendation for the drug to be used for a restricted group of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

There has been a need for improving pancreatic cancer outcomes considering the poor prognosis of the disease and the lack of tangible developments for over a decade.

Following the recent international phase III randomised trial showing improvement in overall survival with the use of nab-paclitaxel combined with gemcitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, it is encouraging that this is acknowledged by the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group, which has granted access for some patients to have this drug.

However, there may still be a significant group of patients who will not be able to receive it.

– Dr Kein Yim, Consultant Oncologist, Velindre Hospital

A spokesperson for AWMSG says that no decision over the drug's availability has been made yet, but it is expected to be discussed at a meeting on 3rd September.

Parents don't have the skills to give first aid

First Aid
Credit: PA

Thousands of parents across the country say they don't have the skills or knowledge to give comprehensive first aid.

According to the British Red Cross, more than a third of parents in Wales also said they would not feel confident giving first aid to someone else's child.

St John Ambulance is campaigning for there to be a first aider on every street and is offering training sessions in communities across Wales next month.

Woman giving Ebola all-clear by Welsh medics

A woman living in Wales who was quarantined with a suspected case of Ebola has been given the all clear.

Woman in Cardiff does not have the Ebola virus. Credit: PA

The woman alerted health officials after she returned to her home in Cardiff after visiting an infected country in West Africa.

The Welsh national told doctors she "may have been exposed" to the deadly virus which has killed hundreds across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea.

She was put in quarantine at her home by health experts who feared she might be the first case in Britain.

Public Health Wales today confirmed she is not "at risk" after the 21-day incubation period passed without her developing further symptoms.


Welsh drivers urged to take regular eye tests

A patient has her eyes examined
Drivers are being urged to have a professional eyesight at least every two years Credit: Paul Faith/PA

All drivers in Wales should be made to take a compulsory eyesight test, according to road safety charity Brake.

Figures released by the charity show a quarter of motorists in the UK hadn't had their eyes tested in more than two years - despite research suggesting you can lose up to 40% of your vision, before noticing.

Brake is urging the government to introduce a requirement for drivers to prove a recent, professional eye test when applying for a provisional licence, and every 10 years thereafter.

It's estimated this would save at least £6.7 million a year by preventing crashes.

Making sure your vision is up to scratch is crucial to safe driving, and though it may seem there are plenty of excuses to put off going to the opticians, none is good enough when it comes to putting people's lives at risk. If you drive, it's not just your own health you are jeopardising by neglecting your eyesight, but the lives of those around you.

– Julie Townsend, Brake

Two further nurses arrested over wilful neglect

Two more nurses have been arrested on suspicion of wilful neglect in connection with the falsification of patients' notes at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

South Wales Police say the two women, aged 29 and 40, who are both from the Bridgend area, have been released on bail until a later date. Both women were previously suspended by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board as part of an ongoing internal investigation.

A total of 15 nurses have been suspended by the health board, the majority of which had worked at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Three other nurses have already been charged with wilful neglect.

Welsh Govt: Patients 'should have access' to good care

The Welsh Government has today announced £6.4 million of funding to help support hospices and provide end-of-life care across the country.

Last year, the Welsh Government published its End of Life Care Plan, which aims to reduce inequalities in end-of-life care and maintain an individual's dignity in their last days of life.

No matter where you live in Wales, patients approaching the end of their lives should have access to consistently good care and support. With advances in modern medicine and treatment, more people live longer with incurable diseases.

Whether a person wishes to die in hospital, in a hospice or at home, we are providing funding to make sure the right level of professional, caring support is available.

Where death can be expected, we must be prepared to have honest and open conversations about the end of life - it should not be a taboo subject. Preparing and planning for the end of life with the involvement of family, carers and professionals is essential to the delivery of high-quality care.

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

£2.6 million of funding will be made available specifically for palliative care provided by voluntary-sector hospices and just over £3 millions will be allocated to health boards across Wales.

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