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Labour defends promise to give cancer patients care at home

9 February 2010

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Health policies are again top of the political agenda as Labour fights back against Tory claims it cannot afford to keep promises to NHS patients.

A press conference by Health Secretary Andy Burnham and the party’s campaign co-ordinator Douglas Alexander came a day after the prime minister promised to fund personal care for cancer sufferers in their own homes.

Gordon Brown (pictured) said as part of a drive to save 10,000 lives, up to 1.6 million patients could benefit from the one-on-one care in the coming five years.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley responded by accusing Mr Brown of “making promises on the NHS which he knows he cannot keep”.

Last year Labour cut NHS funding for cancer patients by £650 each, but Mr Burnham rejected this claim and said budgets could be met by introducing the home care pledge in stages.

The prime minister also announced the possibility of giving pensioners the right to receive six weeks’ support in their own homes after staying in hospital or residential care, or suffering a fall or illness.

Labour and the Conservatives have both said the NHS should be protected from spending cuts needed to lower Britain’s £178bn national deficit.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health

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