HC Deb 24 June 1997 vol 296 c670
19. Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve breast cancer services for women. [3485]

Ms Jowell

The Government are committed to improving the provision and availability of high-quality cancer services and will direct savings achieved from cuts in the cost of NHS bureaucracy into patient care. As a first step, £10 million has been made available for breast cancer services to speed up access to diagnosis, reduce waiting times for treatment and support networks of specialist breast teams.

Dr. Starkey

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, which will reassure many women throughout the country. It is important that, once women have been diagnosed, they get the appropriate treatment. Will my hon. Friend outline the steps that are being taken to ensure that research is properly disseminated so that clinicians can take the right decisions on the most appropriate treatment for individual women?

Ms Jowell

An essential part of rebuilding a national health service is to ensure common and high standards of care, wherever women are treated. The Calman-Hine approach to cancer treatment could not be effectively implemented by the last Government because of the obstacle of the internal market. By implementing that, we can take a co-operative approach to treating people with cancer and guarantee the high quality to which my hon. Friend refers.

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