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Cancer Targets

Volume 677: debated on Tuesday 23 June 2020

As my hon. Friend knows, one of our key commitments was to diagnose more cancers earlier. Through NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Government have committed over £1.3 billion to deliver this, including with an overhaul of screening programmes and new investment in state-of-the-art technology to transform the process of diagnosis and to boost research and innovation. I am sure that he will welcome the fact that 18 rapid diagnostic centres towards our target of 40 are already up and running, as well as the introduction of personalised care plans, which he and I both consider very important.

I do welcome that; I have visited many of the centres. Before the pandemic, we were battling to meet the cancer targets that I helped to set and that my hon. Friend now looks after so ably. Would she confirm that we have not lost sight of the 75% ambition in the long-term plan, and say whether there will be a revision to the cancer section of the long-term plan in the light of the backlog of the stuff that we know? Of course, there is also plenty of stuff that we do not yet know that we know, as a result of presentations not coming forward through primary care.

There are lessons to be learned; that is the essence of my hon. Friend’s question. I have met both Cally Palmer and Professor Peter Johnson throughout the crisis, and our focus on cancer has remained. Ensuring that we deliver on the long-term plan is a key objective, and I am sure that my hon. Friend will work with me on that.