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Cancer: Screening

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which primary care professionals have fast access to relevant diagnostic tests for cancer; and what sanctions there are for primary care trusts which do not implement this policy. (248455)

The Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS) made clear that as a matter of best practice a good primary care trust will wish to ensure that primary care professionals have appropriate and timely direct access to diagnostic tests. Sanctions are not imposed on primary care trusts for not implementing best practice and no assessment has been made of the extent of primary care access to diagnostic tests for cancer.

Information on improvements in diagnostics is set out the first annual report of the CRS, a copy of which is available in the Library. Improving primary care access to diagnostics is a priority for improving early diagnosis of cancer and, although good progress has been made in diagnosis, the CRS Advisory Board feel that further improvements can be made in primary care access to diagnosis. In view of this, diagnostics has been added as an eighth work stream to the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative and work to develop this work stream is currently under way.