HC Deb 03 April 2000 vol 347 cc350-1W
Mr.Stephen O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the adequacy of cancer surgery provision within the NHS. [115167]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 28 March 2000]: We are determined to improve our cancer services and to tackle variations in treatment across the country. The National Cancer Director will be developing over the next few months a national cancer programme which will build on the Calman/Hine Report: "A Policy Framework for Commissioning Cancer" and set out our action to ensure all patients have access to faster better cancer care.

Since 1997 we have invested significant extra resources in workforce, equipment and facilities to speed access to high-quality, evidence-based diagnosis, treatment and care. By the end of 2000, patients with a suspected cancer referred urgently by their general practitioner will see a specialist within two weeks. Over the next five years, the number of cancer specialists will increase by 60 per cent.

and we will work with professionals and local cancer networks to identify future workforce demands and ways in which they could be met.