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Minister confirms cancer treatment guarantee to be retained

15 July 2010

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The coalition government has confirmed it plans to retain a treatment guarantee for cancer patients introduced by Labour, after accusations that it was “ditching” the commitment.

PM David Cameron refused to say the guarantee would definitely stay at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, with acting Labour leader Harriet Harman saying he had “dodged” the issue.

Mr Cameron said: “If a target contributes to good clinical outcomes, it stays. If it doesn’t, it goes.”

Ms Harman retorted: “He is obviously ditching the guarantee for cancer patients, but he hasn’t got the guts to admit to this House.”

But Health Minister Simon Burns later intervened to confirm that the right to see a specialist within two weeks would remain in place.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One that there was no change to the commitment to cancer patients, saying: “The decision on targets was taken on which ones were not clinically justified. It was quite clear that the cancer one was clinically justified and is being kept. There is no question of it going.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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