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Health Minister must clarify cancer spending claims – Kirsty Williams

June 12, 2012 2:30 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, is writing to the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, asking her to clarify her claims that the Welsh Government spends about £4.50 more per person on cancer treatment than the English coalition government.

Research by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has revealed that the difference in spend per head of population is in fact closer to £0.47 more per head in Wales than in England.

Figures from Welsh Government and Department of Health show that the spending per head of population in 2010-11 was £115.4 and £110.93 respectively.

The Welsh Government has deliberately not included in their calculations for comparison the £200m Cancer Drugs Fund available in England which is worth around £4 per head in England.

Kirsty Williams Shadow Health Minister said:

"I am writing to the Health Minister because I want to give her and the Welsh Government an opportunity to clarify to the people of Wales how much they spend on cancer treatment compared with England.

"Cancer is such an emotive issue and it is vital that the Welsh Government be as open and honest as possible about how much it sends on treating cancer. We believe that the Health Minister and the Welsh Government deliberately failed to include the £200m Cancer Drugs Fund in their comparison calculations to make the per head of population cancer spend bigger than it actually is.

"This is at best sloppy calculations and at worst deliberately misleading.

"My colleague Eluned Parrott raised this issue with the Health Minister during our debate on cancer in the Assembly and she failed to respond to any of her comments. Either the Health Minister didn't understand the claim made against her or she deliberately chose to ignore my colleague's comments because she knew that the Welsh Government had skewed the figures to make it look like the Welsh Government was spending more on cancer than they actually were.

"The Welsh Labour Government has a reputation for spinning but this goes too far and I want the Health Minister to clarify the amount spent on treating cancer in Wales and England."