13. What steps he has taken to support research on the most common causes of premature mortality. (144349)
We are still far too low in the European league tables for premature mortality, particularly in respect of cancer, liver disease and respiratory diseases. I have therefore made improving our performance a key priority.
Can the Minister say a little more about what is being done to prevent early mortality as a result of heart disease?
We are investing £34 million in cardiovascular research. Much excellent work is being done at, in particular, the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, which will help us to make great strides.
19. It is widely accepted that late diagnosis of cancer makes for premature mortality. Will the Government recommend the inclusion of proxy measures such as staging and accident and emergency admissions in the outcomes indicator set, as a way of complementing the one and five-year survival measures? That would give us a more complete picture of how CCGs are performing in encouraging earlier diagnosis. (144355)
I congratulate my hon. Friend on his campaigning. No sooner do we agree to the inclusion of one indicator in relation to early cancer diagnosis than he finds another that should also be included.
I will certainly consider the issue that my hon. Friend has raised, but I think that there is a broader question about the role of GPs. They should see themselves as being in the front line when it comes to early diagnosis of not just people who walk through the doors of their surgeries, but people in their communities who are at high risk. That is a much more fundamental change that we need to think about.