HC Deb 10 April 2001 vol 366 cc590-1W
18. Mr. St. Aubyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets he has set with respect to improving cancer treatment. [156301]

Yvette Cooper

The cancer plan sets out targets for waiting times standards so that by 2005 there will be a maximum two month wait from urgent general practitioner referral to treatment for all cancers. Linked to this is the extension of the cancer services collaborative from April; and the introduction of booked admissions for cancer patients by 2004.

21. Mrs. Brinton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his strategy to combat cancers in men. [156304]

Yvette Cooper

The cancer plan is a strategy to tackle all cancers in the whole population. The NHS prostate cancer programme sets out our aims to improve treatment and research in this area, which affects a significant number of men every year.

26. Mr. Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made in delivering improved cancer services. [156309]

Yvette Cooper

Cancer services are receiving record levels of investment For this financial year £255 million is available for the achievement of cancer targets and milestones. It will support the appointment of new consultants; implementation of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance to end the postcode lottery of care; cutting waiting times for cancer and increasing National Health Service investment in specialist palliative care services.

34. Helen Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made on reducing waiting times for cancer treatment. [156319]

Yvette Cooper

The National Health Service cancer plan published in September sets out new waiting time targets for cancer treatment which will be implemented over the next five years.

Since April 1999 over 140,000 women with suspected breast cancer have benefited by being referred urgently by their GP and offered an appointment with a specialist within two weeks. During 2000 this two week standard was rolled out for all patients with suspected cancer requiring urgent specialist investigation.

The cancer services collaborative (CSC) has demonstrated that by changing the way cancer services are provided, for example by pre-planning and pre-booking care, waiting times can be cut and a major impact can be made on cancer care. From 1 April 2001 the improvements in cancer care developed by the CSC are being rolled out to every cancer network in the country, supported by up to £15 million central funding to ensure the improvements are implemented throughout the country.

Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors underlay the Government's estimate of the number of lives that will be saved from the Government's 10-year cancer plan target; and if he will make a statement. [156564]

Yvette Cooper

The "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" White Paper published in July 1999 included a target to reduce the death rate from cancer in people under 75 by at least a fifth. Based on the assumption of steady improvement towards the target and the population characteristics present in 1997, it was estimated that achievement of the target would be associated with up to 100,000 lives saved over the period 1997 to 2010. Independent expert advice at this time suggested that 40 per cent. of the target reduction could come from improvements or extensions to screening programmes and better treatment, and 60 per cent. of the target reduction could be achieved through primary prevention such as reductions in smoking and improvements in fruit and vegetable consumption.