New Treatment Fund/Bridgend Sing with Us Choir

One year on from the launch of the Welsh Government’s £80m New Treatment Fund, patients are getting faster access than ever before to life changing medicines. Last week the Health Secretary Vaughan Gething AM and I (as First Minister) visited Llandough Hospital to meet patients to hear how the fund is working in practice, namely how fast access to new medicines has made a real difference to their lives.

Setting up this fund was a key pledge from our Welsh Labour manifesto for the 2016 Assembly elections. I am pleased that we have moved quickly to implement this manifesto pledge and we are really seeing the benefits in the first year.

The average time taken for recommended new medicines to be made available across Wales reduced to 17 days during the first six months following the introduction of the New Treatment Fund. This has reduced again to 10 days in the second six months of 2017. From speaking to patients it is clear that this fund is helping to transform lives.

Last week, it was great to see the Bridgend Tenovus Cancer Care Choir perform on BBC Wales’ ‘Make Wales Happy’ programme. We know that singing makes people happy. The choir came to sing at the Assembly in 2015 and performed a variety of songs – there was something for everyone. I am delighted that they are returning to the Assembly to sing in March and I am looking forward to welcoming them to the Senedd. My Labour colleague, the AM for Ogmore Huw Irranca- Davies, and I are jointly sponsoring their event in March and we very much look forward to their performance at the Assembly.