Welfare Reform Bill

Part of Tied Public Houses (Code of Practice) – in the House of Commons at 12:52 pm on 9th March 2011.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 12:52 pm, 9th March 2011

One second. Would the hon. Lady forgive me? I have been asked to answer a question and I shall try to answer it. We have already made some very substantial change to support people in cancer treatment. The concerns of Macmillan and others relate to oral chemotherapy. I understand that. We have already asked Professor Harrington, in his second review, to undertake to give some advice on that. We have a slight problem with that from the start, because it is a fairly new form of treatment and a limited number of people are on it. So far, much of the medical evidence suggests that it does not affect people in the way that intravenous chemotherapy does; it is not as debilitating. We remain open to that evidence.

Although there is no provision for oral chemotherapy right now, my right hon. Friend the Employment Minister has made it clear that Professor Harrington will review the subject and take evidence, and we have asked the cancer groups to offer up their thoughts and advice, in addition to the medical fraternity. We will take account of what Professor Harrington says. As Steve McCabe knows, last time we adopted all the recommendations in the professor’s report in their totality. So we are not in the business of trying to harm or affect cancer patients; quite the contrary. We made some very serious changes to what we inherited from the previous Government—I would like to think that they would have done the same—and we will continue to do so. I hope that answers the hon. Gentleman’s question. If he will let me get on with the rest of the Bill, I will.