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Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab):

When the Prime Minister answered the Leader of the Opposition, he was able to show that cancer waiting targets had been met in my right hon. Friend’s constituency. They obviously have a very effective Member of Parliament, but—[Interruption.] The Prime Minister is responsible for the national health service as a whole. He will be aware that nationally the 62-day wait for treatment for cancer patients after referral has been breached in each of the last four quarters. What does he have to say to the more than 5,000 cancer patients, including one in four people with bowel or lung cancer, who are waiting months before they get any treatment?


The Prime Minister:

Everybody in this House, me included, knows people who have been affected by cancer and have died of cancer. This Government have put an enormous amount of effort, as previous ones have done—[Interruption.] I will answer the question. I will answer the question very directly, right? We have made sure—[Interruption.]


Mr Speaker:

Order. Members must hear the answer. I said it a moment ago to the other side. The Prime Minister must be heard.


The Prime Minister:

We have made sure that half a million more people have been referred for cancer treatment, and as a result, cancer survival rates are going up. As well as looking at the national figures, it is worth while looking at constituency figures, and I have the right hon. Lady’s figures here—she is obviously a very effective MP too, because her area is meeting all three cancer targets. That is what is happening in Britain—more people referred, more resources going in, more people surviving, but more to be done—but let me remind her: this can only happen with a strong economy. It is when the Labour party wrecks the economy that it wrecks the health service.


Over 5000 people are having to wait longer than the 62 day target for cancer treatment, according to official statistics. Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart raised this with the Prime Minister directly at Prime Minister’s Questions today.


Fiona said, “After being diagnosed with cancer people face extreme stress, waiting for treatment makes that worse and as we know delay means cancer can progress.


“1 in 2 UK people will get cancer at some point, we must make sure that when people are diagnosed, they get treatment quickly.


“The Government has cut and reorganised the NHS to breaking point. It needs to be properly funded and the chaotic top down reorganisation introduced by this Government needs to be reversed.”