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Brain Tumours (Children)

Volume 578: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2014

We have committed £450 million to enable earlier diagnosis of cancer, including direct GP access to MRI scans for suspected brain tumours. We have also funded a BMJ learning module for GPs on diagnosing brain tumours in children. Of course, I have also met my hon. Friend to discuss this issue, and I am planning to attend the all-party group on brain tumours very shortly.

May I thank the Minister for her answer, and welcome her decision to write to local health boards, and Public Health England’s decision to write to heads of public health, to promote the delivery of the HeadSmart campaign’s brain tumour symptom awareness cards via schools? That gives us a shot of cutting the diagnosis delay in children to five weeks. Will she join me in urging councils to deliver the cards? This will not cost the taxpayer a penny, but it will save hundreds of lives.

I would like to thank all the organisations behind the excellent HeadSmart campaign for their amazing work. To mark the first anniversary of the new public health arrangements, I am planning to write to local health and wellbeing boards to make them aware of the issues of particular interest to Parliament, and this is one that I intend to highlight. Public Health England has also agreed to contact all directors of public health. We fully support the HeadSmart campaign’s aims and encourage local bodies to help drive improvements in this crucial area of care.

My constituent Raj Rana, who is now four, is a survivor of a brain tumour. One group that really can assist in this area is schools. Will the Minister talk to the Department for Education about how they can become alert to early symptoms of brain tumours?

That is one of the points people from the HeadSmart campaign raised when I met them, and of course I am happy to draw the attention of colleagues in the Department for Education to the hon. Lady’s concerns and make them aware of this exchange.