HC Deb 30 October 2000 vol 355 c252W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the new NHS Cancer Research Network. [135799]

Yvette Cooper

A review of cancer research priorities undertaken by the Department in 1999 identified support for the infrastructure for clinical cancer research as the highest priority. We responded to this need in The National Health Service Plan by committing funds for development of a NHS Cancer Research Network (NCRN) across England. By 2003 we will be investing an additional £20 million each year in this new initiative.

The NCRN will provide a world class infrastructure for the conduct of clinical trials and other well designed research. Its initial aim is to double the total proportion of adult cancer patients entering trials within three years. It will be a managed research network mapping onto the cancer service networks across the country. It will provide dedicated research nurses, data managers, medical staff sessions and information systems needed for high quality clinical research, together with research support for radiology, pathology, pharmacy and radiotherapy. The quality, speed and co-ordination of clinical research will be enhanced and research will be better integrated with cancer care.

The first step in establishing the NCRN is to commission a Co-ordinating Centre. This process is well advanced and we hope to make an announcement soon.