Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw MP.
Eric Ollerenshaw MP.

Last week in Parliament I was fortunate to be successful in getting a debate to raise concerns over the way cancer drugs are approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the review of the way it assesses new treatments.

Many charities have raised their concerns with me that the new system may not solve long-standing problems with approvals of cancer treatments and I do feel that in relation to cancer drugs NICE is not ‘fit for purpose’.

Although the Government has announced an extra £160 million for the Cancer Drugs Fund, which since 2010 has enabled 55,000 more patients to access treatment, this is only a temporary measure until NICE get their act together and I now think that there must be a more reliable long-term system to get patients the new treatments that they need to gain that extra precious time with their loved ones.

I was also still in Parliament on Friday of last week, as there were a series of Private Member Bills being debated – some would say in a deliberate attempt to scupper or delay the Referendum Bill which is in the queue to be debated in a few weeks time, so we were there trying to ensure no time is wasted and we can eventually get to voting for an in/out Referendum.

Although this does mean that I had less time to spend in Lancaster – I do feel that it is important that we hold a referendum on our future with Europe so that people can finally have the opportunity to decide whether we stay in or out of Europe.

Finally, I managed to briefly call in to the Ellel Ploughing and Hedging Association’s Ploughing Match.

This annual event which started in 1925 is now in its 89th year and looks to be going from strength to strength.

It was good to see so many entrants in what I believe were six different classes and well done to all the winners.

I don’t think I have seen so many classic tractors in one place before.

As always, please contact me if I can be of any help. I represent everyone that lives in Lancaster regardless of how or whether you vote.