Cancer Survival Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of John Baron John Baron Opposition Whip (Commons) 2:30 pm, 30th March 2010

What consideration he has given to extending the range of cancers for which his Department publishes one-year survival rates; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Health

The second annual report on the cancer reform strategy sets out one-year survival information for breast, lung and bowel cancer by primary care trust. Where it is statistically reliable to do so, we will include additional cancers in the third annual report on the cancer reform strategy.

Photo of John Baron John Baron Opposition Whip (Commons)

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer, but given that the all-party group report on cancer inequalities found a groundswell of support for the introduction of a one-year survival indicator for all cancer patients to ensure that we move away from input-based targets to measuring how effective the NHS is in treating cancer, will he give that consideration further review, and do it with renewed vigour? Many believe that that would help to improve early diagnosis.

Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham The Secretary of State for Health

May I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman for the important leadership role that he has played on those matters in this Parliament as a distinguished chair of the all-party group on cancer? I want the NHS to focus on the early diagnosis of cancer-I agree with him about that-and one-year survival figures will help to get the focus that we need, published for as many cancers as possible and by PCT. Where I must take issue with him is on his comment about input-based targets, or process targets, as Conservative Members often call them.

When it comes to cancer, process equals time, and time matters. That is why Labour will enshrine in the NHS constitution the two-week guarantee so that people can see a cancer specialist, and why we are making a flagship pledge to deliver cancer test results within one week in the next Parliament. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will persuade his Front Benchers to back those commitments.