David Cameron accused of 'ditching' cancer treatment guarantees

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Indy Politics

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman accused the Prime Minister today of "dodging" questions on guarantees over cancer care.

At Commons question time, Ms Harman said Mr Cameron was "ditching" the guarantee to see a cancer specialist within two weeks but did not have the "guts to admit it".

She also warned that the Government's planned shake-up of the NHS would lead to extra costs and demanded to know how much this would be.

Mr Cameron said ministers were cutting £1 billion of administration costs from the health service.

He said Labour was now defending NHS bureaucracy, while the Government wanted the money to go on doctors and treatments.

After Health Secretary Andrew Lansley launched an NHS White Paper earlier this week, Ms Harman asked if patients would keep their guaranteed right to see a cancer specialist within two weeks of seeing their GP.

Mr Cameron told her: "We will only keep targets where they actually contribute to clinical outcomes.

"We all want to see a higher survival rate for cancer. After 13 years of Labour government I'm afraid we have not the best cancer outcomes in Europe.

"We want the best outcomes. That means rapid treatment, yes, but it also means rapid follow-up.

"It also means getting the radiotherapy and the chemotherapy and the drugs that you need, those are all essential.

"We will continue to put real terms increases into the NHS, whereas, as I understand it, it's now Labour policy to cut the NHS."