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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Isherwood calls for action on prostate cancer

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood (pictured) has called on the Welsh Government to ensure that health boards in Wales act on its updated guideline that men with suspected prostate cancer should be offered a Multiparametric MRI scan before biopsy.

His call follows the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) having published its updated guidelines for prostate cancer diagnosis and management, 

Mr Isherwood, who has made repeated calls for pre and post-biopsy Multiparametric MRI scans to be made available to suspected prostate cancer patients, has welcomed the announcement.

However, speaking in the Chamber, he said it now up to the Welsh Government to ensure that health boards amend their pathways accordingly.

Calling for a Welsh Government Statement on the matter during the Business Statement, he said:
“Twelve days ago, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, or NICE, updated their guidelines for prostate cancer diagnosis and management in England and Wales, recommending, amongst other things, that active surveillance should be offered as a primary option for men with low-risk localised prostate cancer. 

"And the changes in the updated guidelines included the statement that men should be offered multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging, or mpMRI scans, before biopsy if they're suspected to have localised prostate cancer.

“Prostate Cancer UK stated ‘this breakthrough diagnostic technique should now be made available in all parts of Wales in the near future, ending the current variation in access that has resulted in some men paying privately for scans’. 

"In March last year, NHS England announced that it was launching a one-stop service using MRI techniques for timely diagnosis in England. Last December, NICE issued new draft guidance recommending pre-biopsy mpMRI for suspected Prostate Cancer.

“In January, the Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services (Vaughan Gething AM) wrote to Assembly Members stating that he'd asked all Health Boards to work with the Welsh Urology Board to ensure they have full implementation plans. In the same letter, he said that ‘Health Boards have confirmed that, at present, they deliver care in line with current NICE Guidance’. 

"However, when I had a meeting with Betsi Cadwaladr (Health Board) last December with a patient, they formally apologised for not having delivered care in accordance with NICE guidance for post-biopsy mpMRI and confirmed that they would be recompensing the men who had paid accordingly."

He added: "As Prostate Cancer UK states, ‘mpMRI revolutionizes Prostate Cancer diagnosis’. The Welsh Government should therefore respond to their calls and those of others, including Tenovus Cancer Care, for the Welsh Government to ensure that mpMRI is now available across Wales. 

"Although Mr Gething told the Assembly in March that when NICE recommends pre-biopsy mpMRI, he will expect all Health Boards in Wales to amend their pathways accordingly, he must therefore now go further and ensure that they do. I call for a Statement accordingly on a matter that has occupied much time in this Chamber and generated a number of issues.”

Responding the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans AM, said: “Of course, patients should have access to investigations for cancer in line with national guidance, and this should be delivered consistently across Wales. 

"Mark Isherwood outlined that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published updated guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer on 9 May. Health Boards that do not currently provide care in line with this guidance are due to submit their implementation plans to the Welsh Government by 3 June, and then the Welsh Government will be meeting with Health Boards on 19 June to review these plans, and implementation timescales will depend on the content of those plans.”

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