NHS Workforce and Service Development

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 11th October 2006.

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Photo of Patricia Hewitt Patricia Hewitt Secretary of State, Department of Health 1:23 pm, 11th October 2006

I want to make some progress before giving way again.

I also want to thank NHS staff for dramatic improvements—belittled, I have to say, by the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire—in cancer care. I do not think that any of the 50,000 cancer patients who are alive today because of improvements in cancer care would want to belittle them and neither would the hon. Gentleman's view be shared by cancer patients who have seen dramatic improvements over the last 12 months. Just 12 months ago, fewer than seven out of 10 patients with most suspected cancers could count on being seen, diagnosed and then beginning their treatment within two months. Today, nearly 95 per cent. of patients are doing so. That is the result of the incredibly hard work of staff, more money, which the Conservatives voted against, and the targets set for cancer care that the Conservatives would abolish.