Patients across Britain still face a postcode lottery in the cancer care they receive, four years after the Government devised a national strategy to combat regional variations in treatment, a committee of MPs has warned.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said there remained wide and unexplained differences in the performance of cancer services and in the types of drugs and therapies available across the country. And it said the Government had failed to close the "cancer survival gap" with other European countries despite record spending on health. The NHS spends around £6.3bn a year on cancer services.

In its report, Delivering the Cancer Reform Strategy, the PAC said the NHS had made significant progress in delivering important aspects of cancer services over the previous decade, with falling mortality rates and hitting cancer waiting times targets.

But it warned that early diagnosis still did not happen often enough and there remained significant gaps in information about important aspects of cancer services, in particular, information on chemotherapy.