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Cancer: Health Services

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that hospitals achieve or exceed minimum standards before being designated cancer centres following the implementation of his Department's guidance on improving cancer outcomes; (325013)

(2) what minimum standards his Department sets for the facilities to be provided by acute trusts applying to become cancer centres following the implementation of his Department's guidance on improving cancer outcomes;

(3) what consideration is given to the effect on the number of transfers between hospital sites by (a) ambulance and (b) taxi of the centralisation of NHS cancer surgery under improving outcomes guidance issued by his Department; and what mechanism is in place to assess the effect on patient care.

Decisions regarding the designation and placement of cancer centres are the responsibility of local national health service hospital trusts and primary care trusts, and are made in conjunction with cancer networks and other stakeholders.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published a series of Improving Outcomes Guidance covering all major cancer tumour types. They set out recommendations on how services for cancer patients should be organised in order to ensure the best outcomes. It is for NHS trusts to implement this guidance taking into account the needs of their local populations.