Labour pledges cancer funding

11 December 2014 08:16

Andy Burnham, the shadow health minister says a Labour Government would provide £330 million to pay for the latest drugs and treatments to fight cancer.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health minister says a Labour Government would provide £330 million to pay for the latest drugs and treatments to fight cancer.

A new £330 million fund for cancer treatments and medications will be set up if Labour wins the General Election.

The current Cancer Drugs Fund in England was set out by the prime minister in 2010 and is due to expire in 2016. But Labour plans a new fund that further develops this list, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said.

What Labour is promising

• A £330m fund that will cover radiotherapy, surgery, drugs and other treatment

• The delivery of a new cancer strategy within 6 months of being elected

• Awareness campaign on cancer increased from 500 schools to all schools in England

The pledged cancer treatments fund will pay for improvements to surgery and radiotherapy treatment - as well as developing better access to drugs.

Burnham was speaking at an All-Party Parliament Group on Cancer conference. Citing statistics from Cancer Research UK, he said that only 1 in 3 patients who need intensity-modulated radiotherapy receive it. Meanwhile last year the number of patients receiving sereotactic ablative radiotherapy fell by 10% on 2012.

Some 124 people had to travel overseas to receive proton beam therapy last year - a treatment not set to come to the NHS until 2018. People having to travel for treatment are reminded of the importance of travel insurance for cancer patients.

Burnham claimed existing Government policy saw certain treatments and patient groups given priority over others.

He called this "indefensible" and cited research showing that 90% of cured cancer cases are dependent on innovative surgery and radiotherapy.

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