HC Deb 09 January 2003 vol 397 cc322-3W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most recent national average referral rate for non-urgent cases of suspected breast cancer was. [87474]

Ms Blears

Cancer referral guidelines were issued in March 2000 to help general practitioners identify patients with suspected cancer, including breast cancer and to refer them urgently where appropriate. We do not collect data on those patients who are routinely referred for investigation. The cancer services collaborative is working in every cancer network to modernise cancer care by streamlining and redesigning the care pathway ensuring all patients receive speedy diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to publish information on waiting times for treatment of cancers not covered by NHS cancer plan targets before 2005. [87962]

Ms Blears

The NHS Cancer Plan set out new goals to reduce waiting times for cancer treatment. Data is currently published by geographical area on the Department of Health website for the two week outpatient waiting time standard and the treatment targets for 2001. Reporting of performance against the December 2002 target of a two month maximum wait, from urgent general practitioner referral to treatment for breast cancer, will begin in 2003. National reporting of performance against the 2005 targets, which relate to all cancers, will similarly begin when those targets come into force. Arrangements are being put in place to enable those providing and commissioning services for cancer patients to monitor progress in the interim.