The move comes after South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw submitted a petition with over 10,000 signatures calling for the change to the Assembly in September 2016. The consultation, which is available online, will run until April 7.
It will see a consultation on a reformed Individual Funding Request (IFR) policy for access to specialist drugs where there is an agreed clinical need but where the drugs are not fully approved for routine use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
“I am delighted the Health Minister has finally begun consultation on this vital matter, with particular reference to cancer patients at the palliative stage of their condition, who will now be able to access specialist drugs,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“I have long worked alongside cancer patients and cancer charities to lobby for this reform. The system in place was not clinically-led, and so I’m pleased the Minister has taken the advice of the Task and Finish Group, which looked into reform of the IFR process, to ensure patients are able to access these life-extending drugs.
“At a meeting with the Health Minister earlier today, she gave a commitment at the end of the 10 weeks, following due process, she would push for the changes in accessing the cancer drugs to be implemented immediately. Alliance will be closely following this process.”