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Labour promises cancer diagnostics in GP surgeries in every town

The Labour Party will ensure that there are cancer diagnostic testing equipment available in GP surgeries in ‘every town’, Ed Miliband has announced today.

The latest election promise from the Labour leader will see a new investment of £150 million each year from 2016/17 in new diagnostic infrastructure to make it possible to do more tests directly in practices rather than having to wait for a hospital appointment.

Labour’s new Cancer Treatments Fund, which will be put in place in 2016, will help kick start the urgent replacement of ‘outdated’ radiotherapy machines, after a Labour investigation found 20% are older than 10 years - which is a breach of NHS guidance, Mr Miliband said.

The party said its plans come as official data shows that the number of patients waiting more than six weeks for cancer investigation following a GP referral has ‘increased four-fold’ since May 2010 while ‘hundreds of thousands’ wait over a month for test results.

The news comes as Mr Miliband yesterday announced plans to have GPs in every A&E department by next winter, as part of a ‘fully funded’ plan to improve the NHS via Labour’s plans for new taxes on high-value properties and tobacco companies.

Mr Miliband said: ‘Yesterday I set out our NHS rescue plan for our first 100 days, our first budget and our first year in office. Now I want to set out the next stage of our fully-funded plan, an investment of £150 million a year, every year in the key equipment patients need to get quick access to cancer tests and improve early diagnosis.

‘There can be nothing more worrying for patients and their families than waiting to hear if you have this terrible disease.’

He said that speeding up cancer tests will ‘help reduce the anxiety of waiting for a test result’, as well as improving early diagnosis, which ‘dramatically improves the chances of successful treatment while saving the NHS on the costs of late intervention’.

The equipment would be paid for through the mansion tax and a new levy on tobacco firms.

Last year, a report from Cancer Research UK said nearly half of people with cancer are diagnosed at a late stage partly because some GPs have poorer access to primary care diagnostics such as chest X-rays, blood tests, endoscopy and ultrasound.

The research found that 46% of all cancers diagnosed in England in 2012 were at stage three or four of the disease. Lung cancers, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and ovarian cancers tended to be picked up the latest, with only 23-44% of these cancers picked up at stage one or two, whereas 93% of melanomas were diagnosed early, as were 83% of breast cancers and 61% of prostate cancers.

The findings come three years after the Department of Health (DH) launched its Cancer Strategy - which included a pledge to invest £450 million in giving GPs more direct access to diagnostic tests.

Readers' comments (26)

  • Excellent, I look forward to our new PET scanner. Does it simply plug into a 13A socket?

    Also, who will be there to work it - all the GPs will obviously be in the Emergency Department.

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  • Yeah! We will all have midi-chlorian counters in surgery!!
    Midi-chlorian counts were measured through a blood test; the Jedi used this method to locate Force-sensitive children- as do GP`s to identify the future suckers who will train as GP`s and work for next to free but unlike Jedi Knights will have no respect, but will be sued, pilloried in press and hounded by GMC, CQC, HealthWath, NHSE and everybody with mouth.

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  • There seems to be an epidemic of verbal diarrhoea.The people who do it need to be euthanaised asap.It is an incurable highly infectious conditon of this time in the political cycle.I for one am a little fed up with this rollocks.

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  • Looking forward to lots of cute little puppies bouncing around the surgery if Labour win.

    Choice is vote for the nasty Tory party or vote Labour and go bust. Or, vote for either and end up going bust quicker with the SNP causing havoc.

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  • Anonymous | Sessional/Locum GP | 22 April 2015 10:21am

    Sorry I almost fell on the floor laughing at this. My colelagues probably think I've finally lost my marbles!!

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  • Can someone please turn off the random policy generator in his office?
    But, leave the 8000 new GP incubators on or we'll never get enough newbies.

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  • Utter Tosh!!

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  • To be fair to Milliband, I think if we are to make further in-roads into cancer we will need better access to diagnostics (with all the usual caveats of over-investigation.) Whether Labour can deliver on this remains to be seen.

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  • They are closing the local community hospitals all over England -Thanks to the present Government(NOT).
    Now they want the same services to be available in every town!

    The proverbial S*** is going to hit the fan soon (irrespective of Blue or Red in power) and whoever is in the room will get a bit!
    Time NHS is taken out of Politicians hands and made independent like Judiciary as parties are promising services like confetti without any money!

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  • Dear Moderator,
    As we are close to an election please can we have those nice little voting buttons back next to the readers comments, you know the ones which indicate favourite or least favourite comments. Most of the above would definitely get the thumbs up from me. They have brightened what would otherwise have been another dull and dismal day in the NHS.

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