The Welsh health minister Lesley Griffiths has told a group of top medics she is standing firm on the issue of a cancer drugs fund for Wales, saying the scheme would not work.

A cancer drugs fund was introduced in England last year and is worth an estimated £200m a year.

But the Welsh government has decided against doing the same.

Previously, Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay have said they spend more money per head on cancer patients than is done in England.

Speaking at the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group’s 10th annual conference in Cardiff, Mrs Griffiths said: “I feel strongly a cancer drugs fund would not be in the best interests of people in Wales.

“We already have robust mechanisms in place to ensure access to non-approved medicines is consistent for patients in exceptional circumstances.

“There is no consensus among senior clinicians either in England or Wales a cancer drugs fund works.

“Many believe it operates inconsistently and takes money away from other services and equally deserving diseases.”

She also went on to tell delegates there was no evidence that a cancer drugs fund improved “the quality of life or survival rates”.

The minister added: “The available evidence does show survival is more closely linked to early diagnosis while surgery and radiotherapy are more likely to influence survival, and it is on these issues we should focus.

“We believe it would create unacceptable inequities in our health system, and undermine the essential work of the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group to deliver evidence-based advice on new treatments.”