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Cancer networks guaranteed

20th May 2011

The future of cancer networks across England appear to have been safeguarded.

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Health secretary Andrew Lansley has secured the teams of cancer experts after concerns that his NHS reforms would put them at risk.

In a U-turn arising from the government's “pause” on the widely-criticised Health and Social Care Bill, he announced England’s 28 NHS cancer networks would be funded beyond 2012.

Earlier, Mr Lansley had stopped short of guaranteeing their future, saying it would be up to the new GP consortia to decide their fate.

But opposition from cancer campaigners and doctors looks likely to have helped save the teams that consist of cancer specialists and provide GPs and hospitals with crucial advice and support on improving care.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: “We fully recognise the value of cancer networks to both doctors and to patients. That's why we took the initial step to fund and support cancer networks until 2013.

“But we've also listened to the concern that organisations, such as Macmillan Cancer, have expressed about the long term future of cancer networks.

“We've listened to those concerns and used the 'pause' in the Health and Social Care Bill to go back to the drawing board and guarantee that cancer networks will now be maintained beyond 2013.”

Mr Lansley confirmed that the future of networks would be secured in a speech to campaign event by Anglia Cancer Network.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This change of mind is great news for cancer patients.”

 

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