A RAFT of new cancer drugs are being turned down unnecessarily or restricted to small groups of NHS patients in England, the Tories have said.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said doctors should have a more powerful role in deciding which drugs to prescribe.

It comes amid calls for more drugs to be funded on the NHS to help treatment for cancer sufferers.

Conservative leader David Cameron met campaigners for kidney cancer drugs in Witney, where he outlined a plan for a cancer drugs fund.

He said: “We have a problem in Britain that other European countries are doing better than us at giving people longer, happier lives with cancer than we are.

“In the UK today there are thousands of people who want a certain cancer drug whose doctors tell them they should have a certain cancer drug who don’t get it.

Clive Stone, 62, was diagnosed with the condition in 2007 but said he was still having to fight to receive the medication he needed.

Mr Stone, who set up Justice for Kidney Cancer Patients three years ago, said: “The gap between us and Europe is getting worse. One of the proposals we’re making is that the authorities ought to be looking at the relationship between the NHS and drugs companies.”

Mr Stone told Mr Cameron drug companies were withdrawing trials of drugs in the UK because they were not being approved by the National Institute for Clincial Excellence.

A Department of Health spokesman said it was trying to speed up the process of Nice approval.