By Lilian Anekwe
The Coalition Government has vowed to stick by its pledge to guarantee that all patients with cancer will be seen by a specialist within two weeks of a GP referral.
Confusion had arisen after acting Labour party leader Harriet Harman clashed with David Cameron during prime minister’s question time this week.
Ms Harman had suggested the Government would have to backtrack on its promise, as it would no longer be able to fund the guarantee because of the costs of redundancies, staff relocation and loss of productivity caused by scrapping PCTs and SHAs.
The Government has repeatedly said it would scrap all targets that are not ‘clinically valid’.
But Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the BBC that this did not include the two week cancer guarantee.
Asked by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham what the government’s position was on the issue, Mr Maude said: ‘We are not getting rid of the two week cancer guarantee. We will keep it because that’s a target with clear clinical validity.’
And speaking in Parliament earlier on Thursday, Commons leader Sir George Young indicated that it would be kept in place.
‘The revision to the NHS Operating Framework in June removed targets on the NHS which were without clinical justification’, he said.
‘The cancer waiting time targets are clinically justified and have been retained.’
Government to stand by two week cancer vow