Rare Diseases and Cancer

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

What steps he is taking to improve the diagnosis and treatment for patients with rare diseases and cancer.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Our much-mentioned new plan sets out the clear ambition to diagnose three quarters of all cancers at an early stage—up from half today.

Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

The blood cancer charity Bloodwise launched its “Hear our voice” report in Parliament last week. Will the Minister ensure that NHS England works with the charity to ensure that blood cancer is included in the 75% target?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Yes, I will. I spoke at the launch of Bloodwise’s excellent report at its parliamentary reception last week. I have been clear since the new ambition was announced that the 75% target applies to all cancers, and we will not achieve it unless we focus on harder-to-diagnose cancers, such as blood cancer.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge

Given that the number of people suffering from rare diseases in any one country is always likely to be small, and given our changing relationship with the European Medicines Agency and the European medicines market, what is the Minister doing to ensure that the future development of orphan drugs in this country is safeguarded?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The hon. Gentleman will know that the draft withdrawal agreement hopefully sets us on a relationship with the EMA, but the UK’s strategy for rare diseases, which was published in 2013, sets out our commitment to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rare diseases and to end the diagnostic odyssey that has been referred to throughout the past few years.