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Off-message GP confronts PM on cancer pledge

By Nigel Praities

A GP has generated national headlines after challenging the Prime Minister to his face on Labour's pledge for a one-week wait for cancer diagnostics.

In what was meant to be a cosy visit to the Yeadon Health Centre in Leeds to highlight his party's commitment to the NHS, Gordon Brown found himself face to face with a less-than-compliant GP.

After Mr Brown asked his opinion of his party's cancer pledge, Dr Andrew Wright replied frankly, warning Mr Brown: ‘I think you will find it quite difficult to offer that kind of service here.'

He added:‘There certainly isn't the equipment, and I think a lot of my colleagues would find it quite difficult taking on the responsibility of making those precise diagnoses.'

He went on to say that if cancer specialists were to be diverted from a hospital, that ‘might not be the best use of their time.'

The rare un-choreographed moment in the Prime Minster's campaign highlights growing unease about the implications of the pledge to use Darzi centres to shift more diagnostics and testing for suspected cancers into primary care.

Dr Wright also mentioned the ‘very intense' pressure on appointments at the centre to Mr Brown, saying it was increasingly difficult to satisfy patient demand.

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