HC Deb 04 December 1962 vol 668 cc1120-2
14. Mr. D. Griffiths

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science how much money has been granted to universities and hospitals of the National Health Service purely for cancer research, during the years 1955–56 to the most recent date.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) on 28th May, 1962, which gave estimates of expenditure from public funds by the Medical Research Council on cancer research for the period 1950–51 to 1961–62.

These figures included grants by the Medical Research Council to universities and hospitals.

Cancer research is also carried out in the universities and medical schools from their general funds as well as in hospitals of the National Health Service, but I regret that it is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the sums involved.

Mr. Griffiths

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for a very long reply, which means absolutely nothing. Is it not time that he conveyed the news to his chief, the noble Lord, and asked whether we could spend some money on human values instead of wasting hundreds of millions of £s on Blue Streak and further millions of £s on defence abortions?

Mr. Freeth

It is untrue to suggest that greater progress in finding the causes of cancer would necessarily be made by the mere expenditure of money. If money in research is not to be wasted, there must be first-class men with first-class ideas who must then be supported. I do not believe that there are any such projects in this field which are not being supported either by the Medical Research Council or by the voluntary bodies.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Can my hon. Friend tell us how the funds spent out of public money compare with those provided by voluntary organisations?

Mr. Freeth

Not without notice.

Dr. Stross

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that while considerable sums are being spent on cancer research by the advanced nations throughout the world, it is rather a farce that in many parts of the world we still allow excessive examinations by X-ray, and test explosions, which increase the amount of cancer affecting human beings?

Mr. Freeth

Those two questions do not come within the Departmental responsibility of my noble Friend.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there will be a certain amount of disappointment at his pronouncement? Will he not take further steps to see that some further drive is induced in this research? Is he satisfied that there is adequate coordination among the various public and private bodies, the hospitals and universities dealing with this subject? Is it not time that some further incentive was given by Government effort?

Mr. Freeth

I assure the hon. Member that the Medical Research Council, for which my noble Friend is responsible, maintains very close contact with the British Empire Cancer Campaign and with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Cancer research workers in all parts of the world publish the results of their findings and a very close international co-ordination of this research exists as a result.

Mr. Griffiths

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.