§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients waited more than(a) 12 and (b) 18 months for cancer treatment in the most recent year for which figures are available. 357W
§ Ms Blears
The NHS Cancer Plan sets out our strategy to reduce waiting times for cancer patients. The ultimate goal is that no one should wait longer that one month from an urgent referral for suspected cancer to the beginning of treatment except for a good clinical reason or through patient choice; it is planned to achieve this by 2008. There is a series of staged milestones towards this goal: from 2001, new targets of a maximum one month wait from diagnosis to treatment for breast cancer and a maximum one month from urgent general practitioner referral to treatment for acute leukaemia, children's cancer and testicular cancer were introduced. From 2002, the target of a maximum wait of two months from urgent referral to treatment for breast cancer was introduced. By 2005, there will be targets of a maximum one month wait from diagnosis to treatment and a maximum two month wait from urgent GP referral to treatment for all cancers. Data on current targets are published on the Departments website at www.doh.gov.uk/cancerwaits.