GPs handed £450m diagnostic boost in new cancer strategy

GPs will be granted greater access to diagnostic scans under government plans to raise cancer survival rates, health secretary Andrew Lansley has announced.

Mr Lansley announced the strategy to raise cancer survival rates
Mr Lansley announced the strategy to raise cancer survival rates

The £750m strategy, 'Improving Outcomes – A Strategy for Cancer', pledges to improve cancer survival rates for England to save an extra 5,000 lives by 2014/15.

Early diagnosis of cancer will be backed by £450m. This will fund increased GP access to diagnostic tests and more testing and treatment in secondary care.

Mr Lansley said: ‘Our ambition is simple, to deliver survival rates among the best in Europe and this strategy outlines how we will make our first steps towards this.’

‘Our commitment is to save 5,000 extra lives a year from 2014/15 and that is what we will be measuring our success against.’

Primary care will gain access to over two million additional tests, including:

  • chest x-ray – to aid in diagnosing lung cancer
  • non-obstetric ultrasound – to support the diagnosis of ovarian and other cancers
  • flexible sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy – to support the diagnosis of bowel cancer
  • MRI brain scans – to support the diagnosis of brain cancer

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the national clinical director for cancer, said England’s survival rates lagged behind other European countries because of poor early diagnosis rates.

He said: ‘This is why our strategy focuses on earlier diagnosis which we will achieve through raising the public’s awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and also providing better access to diagnostic tests.’

The strategy also aims to support commissioners by improving the information available on cancer services and the outcomes they deliver.

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