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Brown's cancer pledge must tackle the real problem - Farron

June 30, 2009 12:00 AM

Outlining his priorities for the next legislative session, Gordon Brown yesterday confirmed patients in England suspected of suffering from cancer will have the right to see a specialist within two weeks.

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron, who is currently campaigning for a new cancer treatment unit to be built in Kendal, argued that Mr Brown's statement was simply a re-statement of an existing government target. While welcoming that re-statement, Mr Farron has challenged the Prime Minister to make a real commitment to tackling cancer.

Under the proposal, Primary care trusts would be required to pay for private consultations if NHS hospitals cannot meet the timescale. However, the two-week cancer target is only expected to affect a few hundred patients because most NHS trusts in England already meet the deadline.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Yet again another big Gordon Brown announcement turns out to be a repackaging of something we already knew about. Instead of another policy based around existing targets, the government should be making a real commitment to tackling cancer.

"Patients requiring treatment for cancer in South Lakeland have to travel to Carlisle or Preston, enduring some of the longest distances in the UK for cancer treatment.

"As most NHS trusts in England already meet the two-week deadline, it's important that the Government invests more money in cancer treatment centres, by investing in facilities such as the proposed cancer care unit were are campaigning for in Kendal."